Top Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he is "feeling sad" about the coronavirus crisis in the country and that India could have been prepared to avoid such a situation.
"I am feeling sad, because this was completely avoidable. We had time to prepare. We should have taken this threat much more seriously and have been much better prepared," Mr Gandhi tweeted.
Nearly all of India - 32 states and union territories covering 560 districts - are under a complete lockdown to contain the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19. Close to 500 people have tested positive for the virus in the country and nine have died.
Rahul Gandhi was reacting to a Haryana-based doctor's tweet that hospitals are facing acute shortage of essential protective equipment such as masks and gloves.
I am feeling sad, because this was completely avoidable. We had time to prepare. We should have taken this threat much more seriously and have been much better prepared. #CoronavirusPandemichttps://t.co/dpRTCg8No9— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 24, 2020
"When they arrive, please send N95 masks and gloves to my grave. Taali aur thaali bhi baja dena waha (sent claps and plates there)! Regards, frustrated sarkari doctor," Dr Kamna Kakkar tweeted, tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Congress said Mr Gandhi had raised the alarm as early as on February 12 and his suggestions were not taken seriously. He had hit out at PM Modi on Monday over the "delay" in the government's decision to ban the export of essential life-saving equipment like ventilators and surgical masks amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The government had on March 19 banned export of all ventilators, surgical and disposable masks and textile raw material used for making masks with immediate effect in wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
"Respected Prime Minister, WHO's advice 1. Ventilator 2. Surgical Mask, why did the Indian government allow the export of all these things till March 19, instead of keeping sufficient stock? Which kind of forces have encouraged these games? Isn't this a criminal conspiracy?" asked Mr Gandhi in a tweet in Hindi.
In tweets in early February, Rahul Gandhi had urged the government to take effective measures to prevent an outbreak of coronavirus in the country.
Mr Gandhi's mother, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday wrote to PM Modi, urging him to rollout a relief plan for the unorganised sector, especially construction workers who have been affected by the lockdown over coronavirus.