Coronavirus has increased disturbingly, both in spread and speed: Sonia Gandhi

NEW DELHI: Interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said that the coronavirus has increased ”disturbingly both in spread and speed in the past three weeks” as she called on the government to arrange ‘for more testing kits, which she said are still in short supply and of poor quality.

Sonia Gandhi made these remarks while addressing the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meet via videoconferencing.

“Sections of our society face acute hardship-particularly our kisan-khet mazdoors, migrant labours, construction workers and in the unorganized sector. Trade, commerce and industry have come to a virtual halt and crores of livelihoods have been destroyed,” said Sonia Gandhi, presiding over the CWC meeting.

Addressing the CWC meeting, Sonia Gandhi said, “We have repeatedly urged the Prime Minister that there is no alternative to Testing, Trace, and Quarantine. Unfortunately, testing still remains low and testing kits are still in short supply and of poor quality. PPE kits number and quality are poor.”

Congress president said that the suggestions she gave to the government on tackling COVID-19 crisis were only acted upon partially. At the CWC meeting, Sonia Gandhi said that “large-heartedness and alacrity from the Central Government is conspicuous by its absence”.

Sonia lamented that “12 crore jobs have been lost in the first phase of the lockdown. Unemployment is likely to increase further as economic activity remains at a standstill. It is imperative to provide at least Rs.7,500 to each family to tide over this crisis.”

However, she added that the doctors, nurses, paramedics, health workers, sanitation workers, essential service providers, NGOs and the lakhs of citizens providing relief to the neediest all over India should be applauded for their efforts. “Their dedication and determination truly inspire us all,” she said.

“There are a few success stories and we should applaud them. Most of all we should salute every single Indian leading the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic despite the absence of adequate personal protection equipment,” the Congress chief said.

The Congress president had written a series of letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on different issues related to the coronavirus pandemic since March 23.

In her letters, she has welcomed PM Modi’s decision to provide free 5 kg ration to a person in addition to the entitlements under the National Food Security Act from April to June, and offered suggestions to help counter the adverse impact of the lockdown on the livelihoods of the people.