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  Opinion   Edit  18 Apr 2020  AA Edit: A pause button only

AA Edit: A pause button only

THE ASIAN AGE
Published : Apr 18, 2020, 5:05 pm IST
Updated : Apr 18, 2020, 5:05 pm IST

Rahul Gandhi has stated the obvious; but we have come to a pass where we need to remind the government of the obvious

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressing a press conference by video link on April 16, 2020.
 Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressing a press conference by video link on April 16, 2020.

If the Union government, which has built a national consensus on the lockdown to help flatten the graph of coronavirus infection, is looking for more ideas, then former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has some to offer. The takeaways of his Press conference on Thursday are two: One, a lockdown is not the panacea and the virus may come back once it is lifted and hence the government must aggressively pursue screening, testing and isolation and two; the government should fund state governments’ efforts and address the concerns of the real poor who have been stranded on the streets.

Gandhi has stated the obvious; but we have come to a pass whereby we need to remind the government of the obvious. The lockdown should be seen only as a pause button, not a solution. Economists and health experts have been saying that a lockdown alone cannot win the battle for India. Our experience also shows it. Kerala, which has reasonably contained the virus despite being hit in the early days, did so by a policy of aggressive tracing, screening and testing. However, the national data on testing has not been very encouraging, especially when compared with other nations. The Indian Council for Medical Research has contended that our test per positive case is comparatively better. If this truly represents the reality on the ground, then we have reason to be confident. However, discoveries of new hotspots despite three weeks of lockdown have played spoilsport. Mr Gandhi’s call for spending more money for the poor through the state governments and a package for the industry has also been discussed on many fora, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video conferencing with chief ministers. At least now, the government must realise the urgency of the situation and act sharp.

 

Tags: rahul gandhi, testing, strategy