September 19, 2020 | 3:52 AM IST
Rahul Gandhi

Rahul snubs Centre’s way of handling Covid-19 pandemic; says lockdown isn’t ending virus

MP from Kerala's Wayanad and former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday criticised the way the government is tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and asked the government to explore ways to lift the nationwide lockdown in a phased manner. He also called for an aggressive testing across Covid-19-affected areas to deal with the virus. 

In the digital media meet, Gandhi said that the lockdown has only ‘paused’ the spread of the disease for a while, but not ended it. He said, “Lockdown is neither a solution, nor a treatment. Hence, we must have an aggressive strategy to come out of the lockdown phase.”

He said, “Currently testing levels are too low. I am proposing scaling up testing. Maximise testing and use testing strategically, to assist states in their fight. Our testing rate is 199 out of a million. All tests that we have done in last 72 days works out to approximately average of 350 tests per district.” 

In response to a question on how senior Congress leaders of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Congress CM till now have been supporting the government in curbing the pandemic, Gandhi said, “I don't want go to go in the past. We must fight unitedly together and not get into the blame game. Instead let's use our resources carefully and give the money to states and districts.”

He also predicted a massive wave of unemployment and warned the centre of a severe economic crisis that will pounce upon the country post-Covid19 crisis. He urged the government to provide free food to the poor and immediately issue emergency ration cards for them. 

He said, “Our godowns are full. The government must provide food to all the poor. We must ensure that in protecting lives, we don't destroy our economy completely.”     

On a sarcastic note Gandhi added, “If some states want more nuanced lockdown, they should have the choice, but the Prime Minister has a different style of working and we can work around that style.” Gandhi also said that the PM must give the states more free hand in dealing with the pandemic.

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