Sixty-three doctors have died after contracting COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu, according to data released by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) headquarters on Wednesday.

The association has published a list of 382 doctors who died after testing positive for COVID-19 in the country. Of this, 63 doctors — a majority of them aged over 50 years — have died in the State. Many of them were general practitioners.

However, IMA-Tamil Nadu State Branch said it was in the process of collecting data on the number of doctors who died of COVID-19 in the State till now. “The State government has asked the association for a detailed list of doctors who died of COVID-19 from the branch level, and has asked the joint directors of health services to verify the data. We have circulated this among all IMA branches in the State. This is for claiming the ₹50 lakh insurance of the Central government,” C.N. Raja, president of IMA-Tamil Nadu, said.

In a press release, Rajan Sharma, national president, IMA, and R.V. Asokan, honorary secretary general, IMA, said families of the doctors deserved solace and solatium from the Central government. The doctors should be acknowledged and treated as “martyrs”.

Referring to the statement of Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in the Parliament on the contribution of healthcare workers during the pandemic, the association said “it faithfully concealed the morbidity and mortality of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers”.

“No nation has lost as many doctors and healthcare workers like India,” the association said, pointing out the risk faced by doctors. “If the government does not maintain the statistics on the total number of doctors and healthcare workers infected by COVID-19 and statistics of how many of them lost their lives due to the infection, it loses the moral authority to administer the Epidemic Act, 1897, and Disaster Management Act,” it added.

Last month, when IMA (headquarters) said 43 doctors had died of COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu, it was denied both by Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar and IMA-Tamil Nadu. A few weeks later, IMA-Tamil Nadu stated that 32 doctors died after testing positive for COVID-19 and another 15, who died, had symptoms of COVID-19, but had tested negative for the infection.

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