Senior Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday raised questions over government's preparation to deal with people who have tested positive for novel coronavirus, asking if it has enough space to quarantine people coming from abroad.
He lauded government efforts to contain the deadly infection which spread from China's Wuhan city, saying, "I don't want to make unreasonable demands from the government. They are doing everything. But, there are some legitimate questions the people have."
"The government wants to quarantine everybody who comes back to India from abroad. But the legitimate question is that where do you quarantine them? Where are the facilities in existence?," the Thiruvananthapuram MP asked.
Referring to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) facility where many of the people were quarantined, Mr Tharoor said, "We have been very lucky so far that nobody came with an infection. But since there are so many common facilities, (in the current quarantine facilities), if one person is infected, everybody will get infected. So these are rather serious concerns."
Mr Tharoor said it is not criticism of the government and it happens to any government dealing with a completely unexpected and unprecedented pandemic. "We all have to show solidarity and sensible cooperation with the authorities. My bigger concern is about India," he said while speaking in the Parliament premises.
Mr Tharoor said, "We had a good comprehensive briefings both by Foreign and Health Ministers. I am not complaining about the government. They are doing their best. But there are real concerns that we have."
"One issue, for example, that affects my constituency is that a large number of students are stranded at the airports in Italy and they are unable to catch flights to come back. The government has decided that they must be tested before they can come."
Meanwhile, the Congress MP said the parents of these students are very anxious.
"We have a similar case in relation to the fishermen", Mr Tharoor said, adding a large number of fishermen from southern India have got stuck in Iran.
"These fishermen are in a position where unfortunately they don't have food, they don't have water. We need to evacuate them as soon as possible."