Lighting Lamps Alone Won’t Help Win War Against COVID-19: Congress

The Congress on Sunday said lighting lamps alone will not help win the war against coronavirus and demanded answers from the government on the safety of health workers in the absence of adequate protective gear.

The party also said lifting of lockdown should not be done in an unplanned manner as its implementation.

“Just as lockdown alone cannot fight coronavirus, lighting alone cannot help. Merely lighting a lamp will not help win the war against coronavirus. If the Government of India does not fulfill its duties, it is not possible to fight the war against coronavirus, Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev said at a press conference through video conferencing.

“There has to be proper planning and provision of personal protection equipment (PPEs) to those fighting this war. There is also the need for an economic package for the poor and vulnerable,” she said.

Highlighting the absence of enough protective gear for the medical workers dealing with COVID-19 cases, Dev said at least 50 doctors have been infected by the deadly virus.

She also sought to know when would the Centre provide compensation to those who have died due to coronavirus, as she said state governments were not financially equipped to provide the same.

“Hundred people have died so far, will the central government give compensation to their families? These are some questions which we ask in national interest and not in criticism of the government,” she said.

Asked if the Congress supported lifting the lockdown, Dev said it is for the government to decide.

“We only hope it is not done in an unplanned manner as the lockdown was imposed the sacrifice of people and the hardship faced by them for the last 21 days should not go waste,” she noted.

The Congress leader also alleged that against the demand of 62 lakh PPE kits, only 3.34 lakh kits are available for doctors and paramedical staff at present.

“If we cannot protect our doctors, nurses, technicians and other paramedical staff who are in the forefront of fighting this war against coronavirus, then this country is not prepared for this fight, Dev said.

Accusing the government of delaying by five weeks issuing orders for allowing manufacture of PPEs locally in the absence of guidelines till March 24, she said the 50 doctors who contracted the disease could have been averted.

She also asked if the government has approved any agencies to test these PPEs manufactured locally.

Dev also questioned the government on increasing the number of ventilators required in the country, as only 40,000 of them are available, of which 20,000 are not working properly, according to reports.

She also called for large-scale testing to curb the spread of the disease.

“We cannot be successful in this war against coronavirus unless the government increases the scale of testing,” the Congress leader said.

The number of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,374 on Sunday and the death toll stood at 77 in the country, the health ministry said.

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