Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan told the Lok Sabha on Friday that the government was following scientific and validated protocols for testing COVID-19, even as the government faced flak from MPs for Ministers “touting alternate therapies without scientific validation and confusing the public at large”.
Dr. Vardhan made the intervention during the Question Hour, while his Cabinet colleague, Minister for AYUSH Shripad Naik, was facing questions on his Ministry’s advisory on traditional medicine systems with regard to COVID-19.
“I want to assure all the members that we’re doing testing and treatment as per scientifically advised protocols,” Dr. Vardhan said in response to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Ritesh Pandey’s question on why more testing was not being done.
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Dr. Vardhan said the many theories over the origin of the coronavirus in China were not something to dwell on.
“I do not think there is any need for any apprehension. A lot of things are making the rounds in Whatsapp and all. At the moment, as per our conversations with the WHO, there is neither any authenticity nor any substance in those reports,” he said in response to a direct question from Congress member Manish Tewari, who had apprehensions over the origin of the virus as not being “naturally occurring” but the result of a scientific experiment gone wrong.
Dr. Vardhan said that as far as the reports of origin of the virus was concerned, it was an ongoing process and that the Chinese government had informed the WHO at various stages. “Every time a new virus comes, it gets mutated and a new virus comes. China reported the first case in their country to whole world on 30th of December when they said that they have noticed some cases of pneumonia, which have an unknown aetiology and they were not able to pinpoint the actual cause of that. On 7th January, 2020, they reported to the World Health Organisation that they have been able to establish that this is probably a new corona virus,” he said.
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Congress MP from Nalgonda Uttam Kumar Reddy said that due to the AYUSH Ministry’s advisory, the Telangana government was distributing medicines claiming they can deter coronavirus.