Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has asked the government to make an action plan to fight the spread of the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19, which has infected at least 30 people in India. With reports trickling in about hand sanitizers and other hygiene products getting sold out fast, Mr Gandhi drew the government's attention to panic buying and pressed for an action plan "backed by solid resources to tackle the crisis".
He also took a swipe at the government over what he alluded to as lack of preparedness to deal with the highly contagious virus that has killed over 3,000 people in China and affected 90,000 across the world.
"The Health Minister saying that the Indian Govt has the #coronavirus crisis under control, is like the Capt of the Titanic telling passengers not to panic as his ship was unsinkable. It's time the Govt made public an action plan backed by solid resources to tackle this crisis," Mr Gandhi tweeted, hours after Health Minister Harsh Vardhan gave a long briefing in the Rajya Sabha on the steps the centre has taken to handle the situation.
The Health Minister saying that the Indian Govt has the #coronavirus crisis under control, is like the Capt of the Titanic telling passengers not to panic as his ship was unsinkable.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 5, 2020
It's time the Govt made public an action plan backed by solid resources to tackle this crisis.
The number of cases jumped in India after a group of 15 Italian tourists were found infected in the last two days. An Indian driver, who was travelling with them, has also tested positive.
"The WHO (World Health Organisation) has termed this outbreak as a crucial concern. Though it has not declared it pandemic, it has asked countries to remain alert. Once the person is exposed to the virus, the disease might be infected within one to 14 days. In our country, 29 positive cases have been reported as of March 4," Harsha Vardhan said in parliament, hours before one more case was reported as positive today, taking the total to 30. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi is regularly monitoring the situation personally," he added.
PM Modi has said he won't be taking part in Holi festivities this year.
US intelligence agencies are monitoring the global spread of coronavirus and the ability of governments to respond, news agency Reuters reported on February 28. There were concerns about how India would cope with a widespread outbreak. The country's available countermeasures and the potential for the virus to spread given India's dense population was a focus of serious concern, Reuters reported.