Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien this morning tweeted a sharp reaction on centre's coronavirus advisory that has asked people above 65 to stay at home as he asked: "Why is parliament running?"
"Govt advisory asks people 65+ to stay home. Sunday curfew announced. And yet! Why is #Parliament running? Why this confused messaging? About 44% MPs in RS and 22% MPs in LS are 65 and above. Ignore advisory? And you yourself mostly missing from Parliament floor #COVID (sic)," the 59-year-old Rajya Sabha MP tweeted.
On Thursday, the central government advised citizens above 65 to stay at home unless they are public representatives or doctors or government employees amid a rise in number of COVID-19 cases in India. Four people have died, more than 190 have got infected across the country due to novel coronavirus in the last few weeks.
Govt advisory asks people 65+ to stay home. Sunday curfew announced. And yet!— Citizen Derek | নাগরিক ডেরেক (@derekobrienmp) March 20, 2020
Why is #Parliament running? Why this confused messaging ?
About 44% MPs in RS and 22% MPs in LS are 65 and above. Ignore advisory ?
And you yourself mostly missing from Parliament floor #COVID
In his address to the nation last night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also urged the citizens to avoid stepping out of their homes, unless absolutely necessary. He also called for a "Janata (public) curfew" this Sunday as a test run for social distancing over the next few days to fight the spread of the highly contagious novel coronavirus. "Under this Janata (public) curfew, no one should leave their home or gather in their neighbourhoods. Only those related to essential services should go out," PM Modi said in a televised address.
Ahead of PM Modi's address, Derek O'Brien had tweeted a clip on Thursday saying: "Parliament opened on March 2. Here we are today... March 19. We are told PM would address the nation at 8 pm. We are keen to know about the government measures. So far, we have had only one statement from Health Minister."
"But a bigger question.... Where's the parliament? You want to run parliament. MPs are sitting in Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha. Have you by any chance decided to address the nation without coming to parliament? I hope not," he is heard saying in the clip.
"#Parliament in session. Isn't this 'temple of democracy' hallowed enough to address the nation from? Or a pre-recorded video message? CMs were watching on TV. Chronology? Announce today. Talk to CMs tomo. Cooperative federalism? High on gimmicks ? Low on solutions #COVID2019," he wrote in another tweet
Earlier this week, the Trinamool Congress leader had called for better precautionary measures at parliament. He also delivered an address in the upper house on coronavirus pandemic when he was stopped by Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu as he tried to give demonstration on washing hands as a measure to prevent contracting the infection.
Worldwide, over 7,000 people have died, more than one lakh have been affected in 143 countries as coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc.