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Coronavirus | In letter to PM, Rahul reiterates need for national lockdown

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. File   | Photo Credit: M. Karunakaran

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that a national lockdown had become “almost inevitable as the COVID tsunami continues to ravage the country unabated”.

Assuring the Prime Minister of his party’s support, Mr. Gandhi said various stakeholders must be taken into confidence so that “all can work together to safeguard India” since otherwise it could become a fertile ground for the virus to mutate and transform into a more contagious and dangerous form.

It was absolutely critical to track the virus and its mutations using genome sequencing as well as its disease patterns, assess the efficacy of all vaccines against all new mutations and be transparent about the findings to the rest of the world, he noted and urged the Prime Minister to do all he could to stop the virus and the government to rapidly vaccinate the entire population as the virus was on the verge of “overwhelming all our systems”.

‘Lack of strategy’

The government’s “lack of a coherent COVID strategy, clear vaccination policy, hubris in prematurely declaring victory allowed the virus to grow exponentially and made India a dangerous place where the disease is growing explosively”, he stated.

“I am aware that you are concerned about the economic impact of a lockdown. Inside and outside India, the human cost of allowing this virus to continue its march unimpeded will result in many more tragic consequences for our people than any purely economic calculations your advisors are suggesting,” he said.

To avoid a repeat of last year — when lakhs of migrant workers were forced to travel on foot — Mr. Gandhi suggested that the government should ensure a proper transportation policy and offer financial and food support to the vulnerable sections.

The situation in India affected the entire world as it was home to one out of every six humans on the planet, he pointed out.

‘A fertile ground’ 

“The pandemic has demonstrated that our size, genetic diversity and complexity make India a fertile ground for the virus to rapidly mutate, transforming itself into a more contagious and more dangerous form. The double and triple mutant strains that we are currently grappling with are only the beginning, I fear. Allowing the uncontrollable spread of this virus in our country will be devastating not only for our people but also for the rest of the world,” he observed.

Mr. Gandhi further wrote, “Your government’s lack of a clear and coherent COVID and vaccination strategy, as well as its hubris in declaring premature victory as the virus was exponentially spreading, has placed India in a highly dangerous position: today the disease is growing explosively. It is currently on the verge of overwhelming all of our systems. GOI’s failures have made another devastating national lockdown almost inevitable.” 


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 6:24:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/national-lockdown-inevitable-rahul-gandhi-tells-pm-modi-in-letter/article34504505.ece

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