Aggressive testing key to fight battle against COVID-19: Manmohan Singh

PTI, Apr 26, 2020, 1:38 PM IST

New Delhi: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said that without aggressive testing facilities, India cannot conquer challenges posed by COVID-19.

“Testing and tracing are the keys to fighting the menace,” he said in a video released by the Congress.

“There are problems with regard to the inadequacy of testing facilities and without more aggressive facilities of testing, we are not going to conquer this menace,” Manmohan Singh said.

Congress shared the thoughts of various leaders in the video to resolve the current crisis relating to the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown. The leaders are members of a consultative group headed by Singh and formulate the party’s views on various matters.

They also stressed on the issue of humanism, protection, and financial security to drive the approach to deal with migrant labourers.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the party should have a broad framework for the protection of migrants.

“We must insist that migrants are protected. But, we must also acknowledge that state governments are actually going to be responsible for driving this thing. Different state governments might choose different methodologies to solve this problem,” he said.

Gandhi said, “Our migrant strategy should include protection. The idea that you can tell the migrant that it is his problem, that has to be central. Movement of the migrant should depend on the two states and they should have a conversation.”

“Testing and Tracing are the keys to fight COVID19. Humanism, protection and financial security must drive our approach to deal with migrant laborers. This is the only way ahead,” the Congress said while sharing the video.

Former finance minister P Chidambaram suggested that one must leave it to the state from where the migrant originally came in to find ways to take back the migrants from other states.

“But, the bulk will have to remain where they are. They have to be immediately given cash and grain,” he noted.

Congress general secretary K C Venugopal said: “The government is failing in this battle and we have to put pressure on the government for the people of the country.”

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the government’s financial action plan 1 has not really worked and “government needs to step up”.

Another Congress leader Jairam Ramesh sought to scale up testing facilities and noted that the country had the capacity to triple the amount of testing. For reaching a threshold level of covering one percent of the population, “we have to do something like 10 million tests”, he said.

Party spokesperson Manish Tewari said it is incumbent upon the Congress to collectively apply our minds and suggest a smart plan to how do we transition out of this lockdown due to all the issues arising out of it, especially the economic issue.

Congress also said that it believes in dialogue and discussion as the path to finding solutions.

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