New Delhi: Pledging his party’s support to combat the spread of coronavirus, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has sought that the government take a more nuanced approach in handling the situation by protecting the elderly while “strongly communicating” to the youth on the perils of coming in close proximity with the aged.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gandhi said the number of people who depend on daily livelihood is too large to “unilaterally shut down all economic activities”.
“A complete lockdown and a complete shutdown will almost certainly ensure that millions of our unemployed youth rush back to the villages increasing the threat of infecting their parents and grand-parents and elderly. This will result in catastrophic loss of life,” Gandhi wrote.
The Gandhi scion said the labourers have been rendered vulnerable without their daily wages or access to nutrition and basic services.
“It is important that we help such sections find shelter and provide them with money directly into their bank accounts to help them tide over the next few months,” he said.
India is currently under a three-week nationwide lockdown and has registered close to a 1,000 Covid-19 cases.
Experts, however, believe that the nation will need to customise communication and measures to suit the socio-cultural milieu to ameliorate the impact of global pandemic in their countries. Many nations have sought to emulate the Chinese model of a complete lockdown in Hubei province to break the chain of the pathogen and its spread.
Gandhi has also urged the Prime Minister to increase the number of testing to gauge the impact and spread of the virus. Some countries like South Korea and Germany have done that to effectively restrict both the spread and mortality rates.
He called for a nuanced approach that takes the complex realities of our people into consideration.
"Our priority must be to protect and isolate the elderly and vulnerable from the virus, and to clearly and strongly communicate to the young the dangers of proximity to older people,” he said.