The coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 14,000 people in India and killed at least 480, is "a huge challenge but also an opportunity", Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said today.
In a tweet this morning, he called for "innovative solutions" by using the country's "huge pool" of experts. "The #Covid19 pandemic is a huge challenge but it is also an opportunity. We need to mobilise our huge pool of scientists, engineers & data experts to work on innovative solutions needed during the crisis (sic)," the 49-year-old Congress MP wrote.
His latest tweet comes two days after he said that a nationwide lockdown would only pause the deadly coronavirus, but not defeat it. "In no way does a lockdown defeat the virus. It helps only to stop the virus for a short while. The only way to do this is to increase testing," the MP from Kerala's Wayanad said, addressing the media through a video app.
The #Covid19 pandemic is a huge challenge but it is also an opportunity. We need to mobilise our huge pool of scientists, engineers & data experts to work on innovative solutions needed during the crisis.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 18, 2020
"Currently testing levels are too low. I am proposing scaling up testing. Maximise testing and use testing strategically, to assist states in their fight," Mr Gandhi had said, adding that adding, "Don't take it as criticism."
He also suggested a decentralised approach in fight against COVID-19, which originated in China's Wuhan city in December. "I may disagree on a lot of issues with Narendra Modi ji, but today is not a time to get into all this. Today is a time to unite and fight the common enemy," he said.
The same day, the top medical body - the Indian Council of Medical Research or ICMR - rejected claims that the rate of coronavirus testing in India is low.
"In countries like Japan, one out of 11.7 tests turn out to be positive, which is among the highest in the world. Italy tests 6.7 persons for one positive test while the USA tests 5.3 persons and the United Kingdom 3.4," ICMR's Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar said at a press conference.
"Taking their population base into consideration, it is difficult to comment about our testing rate. In India, we are conducting 24 tests out of which one comes out to be positive," he added.