India

COVID: Narendra Modi’s tears didn’t save lives but oxygen could have, Rahul Gandhi says

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New Delhi: Taking a dig at Narendra Modi-led Government of India, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday sounded a warning as he released a white paper to help the government prep for a third COVID wave.

Medical experts believe that the third COVID wave will likely be inevitable as the virus acquires mutations linked to immunity evasion.

Quoting Gandhi, an NDTV report said: “90 percent of people who died (in the second wave) could have been saved. The biggest reason (they died) was lack of oxygen. PM’s tears can’t wipe families’ tears… his tears can’t save them, oxygen can. But he didn’t take it seriously as his focus was on Bengal (elections).”

Gandhi also questioned the GoI’s inability to compensate families for losing their primary earner to COVID-19, pointing out the centre is “making Rs 4 lakh crore from petrol and diesel (price hikes)”. “Families who have lost breadwinners must be compensated,” he said.

Gandhi, who has been critical of several aspects of the government’s handling of the pandemic and its policy, said the paper was a “blueprint on how to react to the third wave… to provide the government with information and insight on what went wrong (handling the second wave)”.

“Covid is going to be disastrous for this country in the third wave,” the report quoted him as saying.

“We have prepared a white paper not to point fingers but show shortcomings and hope that, in the future, this will be addressed. The entire country is aware a third wave is coming… and the government must be prepared for this… that is our purpose,” he stressed, according to the report.

Meanwhile, in the last 24 hours, India reported 42,640 COVID cases, which is the lowest in 91 days, and 1,167 deaths, the lowest since April 14.

According to the Health Ministry of India, the total number of coronavirus cases in the country reached 2,99,77,861 while the total number of fatalities touched 3,89,302. Also, with 81,839 discharges in a day, as many as 2,89,26,038 people have recovered so far. Active cases dipped to 6,62,521 on Tuesday, a level last seen at the start of April. Kerala once again became the biggest contributor to India’s tally with 7,449 new cases on Tuesday.

Low testing in the last couple of days could have contributed to the low count. India tested 14 lakh samples on Sunday and 17 lakh on Monday, compared to the normal daily average of over 18 lakh tests.

As India returned to centralized procurement and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, it reported 82.70 lakh vaccinations on Monday, a daily record by far since the vaccination drive was launched on January 16.

Under the government’s new vaccination policy that came into effect on Monday, the GoI will procure 75 percent of the vaccine stock from the open market and distribute it to states, to be administered free to everyone of age 18 years or older at government vaccination centers.

 

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