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Coronavirus | Sonia Gandhi urges Centre to evolve national policy on COVID-19

Congress president Sonia Gandhi. File.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in a video message on Saturday, asked the Centre to evolve a national policy on COVID-19 through a political consensus and asserted that it is time for the Centre and the State governments to ‘wake up’ to their responsibilities.

The party also launched a medical advisory helpline and a link for COVID recovered patients including party workers to register as plasma donors. While the former party chief, Rahul Gandhi, took to Twitter to invite doctors and medical professionals to provide COVID consultation and handle mental health issues through the helpline, the party created a separate link for COVID-recovered people to register themselves as plasma donors and create a data bank.

The link to plasma donation will be shared in all social media platforms of the party, Indian Youth Congress chief B.V. Srinivas, who has been providing COVID relief to patients, told reporters at a virtual press conference.

“It is time for the Central and State governments to wake up and fulfil their duties. I urge the central government to evolve a national policy to deal with the COVID crisis in the country and a strategy to bring about a political consensus over it,” Ms. Gandhi said in her video five minute video message.

Also read: Interview | Save lives, alleviate pain, says Sonia Gandhi

 

The Congress chief said that COVID-vaccines should be provided free of cost to all citizens, the government should invoke compulsory licensing to scale up vaccine production and cover the entire population in a short time. “First, think about the poor and provide them with ₹6,000 each to the bank accounts of all to stop their migration, till the end of the pandemic,” she said.

Ms. Gandhi also called for increased testing and checking the black marketing of essential life-saving drugs besides providing oxygen, medicines and other equipment to hospitals on a war-footing. She said her party will stand with the Centre in the fight against the pandemic and appealed to all Indians to unite in these testing times.

“Our country is facing the pandemic and lakhs of our citizens have been affected by coronavirus everyday. This crisis is the testing time for all of us and we have to hold each other's hands, support each other and be their strength. The current times have shattered humanity, with many States facing shortage of beds, oxygen and life-saving medicines,” she said, urging everyone to stay in their homes unless necessary.

Ms. Gandhi appealed to people to unite and help each by sinking their differences, and expressed her gratitude to doctors, nursing staff and all health workers who are treating COVID patients risking their lives.

Launching the medical advisory helpline, Mr. Gandhi tweeted, “India needs together and help our people. We have launched 'Hello Doctor' a medical advisory helpline. Please call +919983836838 for medical advice. Dear doctors and mental health professionals, we need your help. Please enroll on bit.ly/3xAilZB,” he added

Separately, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram tweeted to demand the resignation of Health Minister Harsh Vardhan as many States including BJP-ruled ones couldn’t roll out the vaccination programme for everyone above 18 years.

“The roll out of vaccination to 18-44 year olds announced by the Union Health Minister is a non-starter. All but 6 States have refused to roll out the programme citing insufficiency of vaccines. The Health Minister who declared “there is no shortage of vaccines” should admit his failure and resign. The vaccine shortage and the failure of the rollout programme are examples of the total mismanagement of the fight against coronavirus. If the Health Minister is not held accountable, who will be?” asked Mr. Chidambaram.


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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 2:32:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-evolve-national-policy-to-deal-with-covid-bring-political-consensus-on-it-sonia-gandhi-to-centre/article34457668.ece

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