Coronavirus India Live Updates: PM Modi prepared nation for lockdown through Janata Curfew, says Health Minister

People queue up outside a Covid19 testing van in New Delhi (Express photo/Praveen Khanna)

Coronavirus India News Live Updates: Covid-19 infections in India crossed the 54-lakh mark after 92,605 new cases were added in the past 24 hours. The toll has risen to 86,752 after 1133 casualties were reported in the country. Of the 54,00,620 infections in the country, 10,10,824 are active cases, while 43,03,044 patients have already been cured.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday told Lok Sabha that the announcement of lockdown was not sudden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had prepared the nation for it through the Janata Curfew on March 22. “Five different studies have spoken about how many lives were saved due to the lockdown. If the lockdown was not used properly and things were not monitored, the dedicated 17,000 covid facilities would not have come up,” he said adding that three vaccines in India were at an advanced stage and that the government was already working on a detailed strategy of distributing and administering the vaccine once it is out.

Globally, over 30.8 million have been infected, of which, nearly 21 million have recovered so far. At least 958,400 people have succumbed to the virus so far. While casualties in the US approached 200,000, China has found coronavirus particles on the packaging of frozen squid tentacles from Russia. Britain is at a “critical point” in the coronavirus pandemic and data on cases are heading in the “wrong direction,” Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty is expected to warn on Monday, as concern mounts that a second lockdown may be needed.

A family wearing face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus travels on a motorcycle in Hyderabad (AP)

On criticism of the government over a sudden lockdown and mismanagement of the situation, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “If the lockdown was not used properly and things were not monitored, the dedicated 17,000 covid facilities would not have come up. Today there are 1,773 labs. There is a lab every three km in the country today. We have conducted 6.37 crore tests and only yesterday we have done 12 lakh tests. We have achieved our targets before time.”

He said the government started working from January 8 and advisories had been sent to all states by January 17. He said doctors and paramedics had to be trained while the pandemic was on and when reports of them being attacked came, the government brought in an ordinance to protect them.

During the debate, the Opposition came down heavily on the government for its “failure to adequately recognise the scale and complexity of the problem” and “the abrupt announcement of the lockdown”.

“Instead of mature and proactive governance, we have collectively witnessed a fundamental breakdown in government machinery these past few months, instead of clearly communicated protocols and comprehensive strategies, we have collective witnessed an alarming lack of clarity, readiness and preparedness to tackle the virus,” Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said.

Congress leader in the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “No country has lost as many doctors or health workers as India. The government is not ready to accept that there is community transmission. If there was a well laid-out strategy, we would not see this day.”

Quoting from Thirukkural, DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran said the King should always have good advisers. “You should have stopped him.. But no one had the courage to tell him what he was doing was notright,” he said.


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