'Lockdown is not a solution': Rahul Gandhi pitches for aggressive testing to defeat COVID-19

Instead of conducting tests on the basis of suspected cases, India must adopt a strategy and bring out an architecture under which testing should be expanded exponentially, the Congress leader said.
Doctors testing the samples at maternity hospital. (Photo | Madhav K)
Doctors testing the samples at maternity hospital. (Photo | Madhav K)

NEW DELHI: Lockdown is like a pause button and it’s not a solution to COVID-19, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said as he called for aggressive testing and a strategic exit plan from the government to handle the pandemic.

“First thing to understand is that a lockdown is like a pause button. It’s in no way a solution to Coronavirus. When we come out of lockdown, virus will start its work again. So, it’s important that we have a strategy to come out of lockdown. Lockdown allows time and space to put in medical resources,” he told a press conference through video conferencing on Thursday.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi

“Our testing rate is 199 per million and if you look at all tests that have been done, it’s an average of 350 per district. One advice to Government is push testing aggressively, maximise testing and use it strategically. Use testing to assist states in their fight, not just to track patients but to see where the virus is moving.”Calling for decentralising management of COVID-19, he said that the fight against coronavirus should not be top-down but bottom-up and that the PM should empower states. “The speed with which the money should reach the States is not happening. The fight against Coronavirus is on two fronts — medical and economic. There will be a shortage of food but there’s plenty of storage in the warehouses.”

“Premature declaration of victory over the virus could be fatal. There should be no declaration of victory over COVID-19. It is long battle. I may disagree with the PM but this is not the time to fight. It is the time to fight the virus unitedly,” he said.

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The New Indian Express