Rahul asks PM to empower states, says lockdown won’t defeat virus

Rahul asks PM to empower states, says lockdown won’t defeat virus

Agency News

New Delhi, Apr 17: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in a rare appearance via videoconferencing, on Thursday said that a lockdown is like a pause button and it allows time and space to put in medical resources to fight against Coronavirus outbreak.

“First thing to understand is that a lockdown is like a pause button, it's in no way a solution to Coronavirus. When we come out of lockdown, the virus will start its work again. So, it's important that we have a strategy to come out of lockdown”, Mr Gandhi said. He added that it is important to ramp up testing abilities, prepare hospitals and get ventilators during lockdown. “A misconception that I want to clear is, in no way does a lockdown defeat the virus, it stops the virus for sometime”, the Congress leader said and added, “we are in a very serious situation, that is clear and I think all political parties have to work together and the people of India have to work together if we want to solve this problem and defeat this virus”.

Responding to questions posed by media persons, Mr Gandhi said, over the last couple of months, he has been speaking to a large number of experts in India, abroad, in government and outside government who have a very good understanding of what is going on, so whatever he will say will be based on those conversations. Emphasizing the need to accelerate the testing, he said the biggest weapon against the virus is testing. “Testing at a scale so you know where the virus is moving and you can isolate and fight it out. Our testing rate is 199 per million and if you look at all tests that have been done it's an average of 350 per district”, Mr Gandhi said and added, “one advice to the government, it is something I have been saying time and again, push testing aggressively, maximise testing and use it strategically. Use testing to assist states in their fight, not just to track patients but to see where the virus is moving”.

Referring to his home constituency, Kerala’s Wayanad, Mr Gandhi said, “Our strength to fight Covid-19 is at state and district level. Success in Wayanad has been due to district level machinery. So I suggest that the fight against Covid should not be top-down but bottom-up. The Prime Minister should empower states”. He charged that the speed with which the money should reach the states is not happening, adding, “The fight against Corona virus is on two fronts - medical and economic. (UNI)