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Coronavirus | Wider testing protocol, larger economic package need of the hour: Congress

Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev. File

Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev. File   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Lighting diyas alone cannot contain spread of COVID-19, it says

Lighting a diya alone cannot succeed in containing the spread of the COVID-19, the Congress said on Sunday asking the Narendra Modi-led government to alter the testing protocol to make its scope wider and increase the number of tests.

COVID-19 | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

It also pressed the government to come up with a larger economic package to help businesses and individuals to tide over the lockdown.

“The PM made a request to people of India to light a diya at 9 p.m. for nine minutes today. There is no harm in it. But just as lockdown alone cannot succeed in containing the virus, it has to be backed by mass testing and a robust economic package, a diya alone won’t help people of India,” spokesperson Sushmita Dev said.

Congress cited the example of Bhilwara in Rajasthan which is a hot spot but has successfully managed to rein in the spread. Ms. Dev said 11,000 persons have been tested here, which was the key to contain COVID-19.

Also read: Coronavirus | I apologise for tough steps, says Narendra Modi in Mann ki Baat

“Sitting at home alone under a lockdown won’t help till there are enough tests done. Out of 135 crore people we have only tested a little over 75,000 persons. South Korea, which has managed to halt the growth of the virus, tests 10,000 persons every day,” Ms. Dev said. The Congress also rejected the government’s latest announcement making the COVID-19 testing free under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana saying the policy has a very limited reach.

Pointing out the huge lack of personal protection equipment (PPE) kits for the frontline health workers who are dealing with the patients. Ms. Dev said: “There are about 3.3 lakh PPE kits while the actual requirement is more than 62 lakh kits.”

Also read: PM Modi’s appeal on lighting lamps is BJP’s hidden agenda, says H.D. Kumaraswamy

“It’s just sad to see on social media that doctors are wearing rain coats or helmets while working in the absence of these kits. If we can’t protect our doctors and nurses then we believe the country is not ready for the fight against COVID-19.” The party accused the government of delaying the procurement of PPEs for more than five weeks. And these kits must be tested and verified but there aren’t enough agencies to do so, the Congress said. “Will you take another five months just to test these kits?”

With just 40,000 ventilators across the nation, Ms. Dev said, how exactly does the government plan to fight the pandemic.

The Congress also slammed the government for calling a belated meeting with the floor leaders of both Houses of Parliament. “Why after 11 days of the lockdown are you calling the Opposition leaders for a discussion?” Ms. Dev asked.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 2:30:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/wider-testing-protocol-larger-economic-package-need-of-the-hour-congress/article31263211.ece

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