Rahul Gandhi writes to Modi; lists suggestions on COVID-19
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday wrote a second letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the "uncontrollable spread" of COVID-19 in India and requested the Centre to consider four "urgent" suggestions. Alleging the lack of a coherent vaccination strategy, he said "another devastating national lockdown is almost inevitable." He asked the PM to do everything in his power to stop the "needless suffering."
Double, triple mutant strains only the beginning, says Gandhi
Gandhi noted that the pandemic brought to light India's "genetic diversity," providing the virus with an opportunity to mutate into a more contagious form. "The double and triple mutant strains that we are currently grappling with are only the beginning, I fear," Gandhi stated in his letter. He urged the government to scientifically track the virus using genome sequencing and observe its patterns.
'Assess efficacy of vaccines against new strains'
Gandhi asked the government to "dynamically assess" the efficacy of vaccines against the continually emerging new COVID-19 strains. Noting that cases are growing "explosively," he requested the government to expedite its process of vaccinating the country's entire population. He alleged failures on the part of the government of India and said the COVID-19 "tsunami continues to ravage the country unabated."
Make arrangements for inevitable lockdown: Gandhi
Stating that the pandemic is on the verge of overwhelming the country's systems, Gandhi said another national lockdown is "almost inevitable." In order to avoid a repeat of the suffering encountered last year, specifically by migrant laborers, he urged the government to ensure financial and food support to vulnerable communities in this "highly dangerous situation." A transportation strategy must also be prepared, he added.
'Human cost of virus will result in more tragic consequences'
"I am aware that you are concerned about the economic impact," Gandhi went on, "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."
'Ensure findings are transparent; keep the world informed'
The Congress leader said that it was important to recognize "India's responsibility in a globalized and interconnected world." He suggested to the PM that any findings with respect to the pandemic and mutated strains of the virus must be kept transparent. He said the world must be kept informed as India is "home to one out of every six human beings on the planet."
You can read the full letter here:
In such an unprecedented crisis, the people of India must be your foremost priority. I urge you to do everything in your power to stop the needless suffering that our people are going through.: Shri @RahulGandhi writes to PM Modi on #COVIDSecondWave pic.twitter.com/vNYpE03jUR— Congress (@INCIndia) May 7, 2021
Earlier, Gandhi had said lockdown should come with NYAY protection
On Tuesday, Gandhi had tweeted that the only way to stop the spread of coronavirus now was a full lockdown with the protection of the minimum income guarantee scheme, NYAY (Nyuntam Aay Yojana or "minimum income scheme"), for the vulnerable sections. "GOI's (Government of India) inaction is killing many innocent people," he wrote. Congress has been critical of the government's handling of COVID-19.
India reports 4.14 lakh new COVID-19 cases, nearly 4,000 deaths
Meanwhile, the country on Friday reported a record number of 4.14 lakh fresh coronavirus infections, taking the total tally to 2,14,91,598 cases. The country also added 3,915 more fatalities, taking the overall death toll to 2,34,083.