Congress’s Manish Tewari says Centre failed to anticipate magnitude of COVID-19, seeks comprehensive post-lockdown plan and exit roadmap

27 April, 2020 | Priyanka Sharma

Manish Tewari National

Congress leader Manish Tewari has blamed Centre for failing to anticipate the magnitude of COVID-19 and take some steps in haste.

Congress leader Manish Tewari on Sunday said his party hopes that Prime Minister Narendra Modi brings a comprehensive post-lockdown plan and an exit roadmap. He also raised doubts regarding the Centre’s strategy to keep random testing for COVID-19 at 39,000 against the capacity of one lakh tests per day. Tewari said the government took some steps in haste as it “failed to anticipate” the magnitude of COVID-19.

“Is there an attempt to either play down the magnitude of the problem or is the government unsure of dealing with the capacity to deal with random testing implications?” Tewari asked at a press briefing through video-conferencing. “According to our information, India has the capacity to conduct one lakh COVID-19 tests daily, yet why only 39,000 tests are being done. The government should tell the public why tests are not being conducted at a larger scale,” he said.

Tewari also pointed out that the country is left with only 3,00,000 RNA kits and if the government continue with 39,000 random testings per day then the kits will be finished in a week. He also asked the Centre about the arrangements being made for ventilators, masks and front line workers.

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Cornering the Centre over ‘its inefficiency in handling COVID-19 situation’, he said: “Congress had asked that lockdown should have been imposed with a national plan under the Disaster Management Act but no plan has been made even after a month when we requested last.” He further spoke about the challenges that the country would face post lockdown and said the Congress hopes that Prime Minister Narendra Modi puts out comprehensive, holistic strategy in dealing with lockdown exit during the meeting with chief ministers.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to interact with chief minister of states to discuss the way forward on Monday. “We expect that in the meeting we see a calibrated and precise plan that over the next 90 days, what the Centre, states and districts are expected to do to deal with COVID-19,” the Congress leader said.

Pointing out the difficulties faced by migrant workers, he said they have faced the most “inhumane behaviour” since the lockdown was imposed and urged the Prime Minister to discuss the issue of stranded labourers in various states with chief ministers and chalk out a plan to send them back to their homes. The Congress leader questioned the veracity of the Centre’s COVID Task Force’s claim that there would be no coronavirus case after May 16 and requested the government to give clarification on it.

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