Coronavirus outbreak: Lockdown no solution to COVID-19, says Rahul Gandhi

Published: Apr 16, 2020, 15:27 IST | ANI | Mumbai

Rahul has advised the central government to push testing aggressively, maximise testing and use testing strategically

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Picture/Twitter Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Picture/Twitter Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said a lockdown is not a solution to the virus and suggested the Centre should aggressively go for testing and use it strategically.

"We are in a very serious situation, that is clear and I think all political parties have to work together and the people of India have to work together if we want to solve this problem and defeat this virus... Over the last couple of months, I have been speaking to large number of experts in India and abroad, who have a very good understanding of what is going on. So, a lot of what I am going to be saying is going to be based on these conversations," Rahul said while addressing media via video conference.

"The first thing to understand is that a lockdown is like a pause button. A lockdown is in no way a solution to COVID-19...When we come out of the lockdown, the virus is going to start its work again. So, it is very important that we have a strategy to come out of the lockdown," he added.

Rahul stated that lockdown "allows you the time and space to put in medical resources, to ramp up your testing ability, to prepare your hospitals, to get ventilators, to create the type of architecture that is required to fight the virus when it picks up again." "So, there is one misconception that I would like to clear up. In no way does a lockdown defeat the virus. It stops the virus for some time. Now what is the real weapon against the virus, the biggest weapon? The Biggest weapon is testing. Testing at scale so you know where the virus is moving and you isolate the virus and target the virus," he said.

The former Congress president also stated that India's testing rate is 199 out of a million. "If you look at all the tests that we have done over the last 72 days, it works out to approximately an average of 350 tests per district. This is in no way enough to tell you how the virus moving," Rahul said

"If you want to fight the virus, you have to increase testing dramatically and your testing has to go from chasing the virus to moving ahead of the virus... Lot of our testing is currently chasing the virus because we are identifying cases and then following the virus. With that type of testing, you will never be able to actually get a good image of what the virus is doing and where the virus is," he added.

Rahul has advised the central government to push testing aggressively, maximise testing and use testing strategically. The testing levels are currently too low and the Government of India is not using testing strategically, he noted. Prime Minister Modi had on March 24 announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID19. Earlier this week, he announced the extension of lockdown till May 3.

With 941 more COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, India's coronavirus tally crossed the 12,000 mark with the tally reading at 12,380 cases, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday. Out of the total tally, 10,477 patients are active cases while 1,489 patients have been cured, discharged and migrated. With 37 more deaths reported in the last 24 hours, the death toll has risen to 414.

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