New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told the Lok Sabha Sunday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had built consensus on “even the smallest issue related to Covid-19 management”, as the House held a discussion on the pandemic.
He said the government did a commendable job in providing essential services to people at the beginning of the nationwide lockdown, but blamed “irresponsible behaviour” shown by people for the daily surge in cases today.
The minister urged MPs to spread awareness about masks as well as social distancing norms in their respective constituencies.
“PM Modi took everybody along, right from the start, and built consensus for even the smallest thing. It is work that everybody did together and I congratulate everybody. You have to really bow down to PM Modi’s innovative idea of a janata curfew before the lockdown, both to prepare the country and test it for compliance…”
He added: “…those were terrible times…please remember how we evacuated 2,500 Indians stranded in Wuhan, Italy and Iran, transported a lab to Iran. While everybody is sensitive to the plight of migrants, you have to commend the work done by the home ministry in providing essential services and how the efforts of the government ensured 64 lakh people went home in Shramik Special trains.”
Vardhan pointed out how people refused to maintain vigilance against exposing themselves to the virus after ‘unlock’ — the phase-wise easing of restrictions — began.
“As public representatives, you must work towards ensuring social distancing so that we can break the chain of transmission. Covid cannot stay in air, it travels from one person to another and that transmission chain is what we need to break,” the health minister said.
‘Under-reporting of deaths’
Earlier in the day, opposition MPs criticised the government for unilaterally announcing a countrywide lockdown without taking states into confidence, multiplying the plight of migrant workers and failing to make a dent in India’s rising Covid numbers.
Adhir Chowdhury, leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, flagged his concerns about alleged under-reporting of Covid-19 deaths. He also said it was time India got a separate ministry for migrant workers.
Meanwhile, Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal claimed 80 per cent of Covid-19 cases in the country were linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi in early March. His statement was strongly contested by BSP MP Danish Ali who said India has denigrated itself in the eyes of the world for its obsession to introduce a religious angle to a global pandemic.
India’s current Covid-19 tally stands at 54,00,619.
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