Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said a lockdown is not the solution to fight coronavirus and the government should instead go for testing "aggressively and strategically".
Addressing the media through a video chat, Gandhi said: “Lockdown is like a pause button. When we come out of the lockdown, the virus is going to start its work again. In no way does a lockdown defeat the virus. It helps only to stop the virus for a short while. The only way to do this is to increase testing and chasing the virus and going beyond and this is my advice to the government -- use testing."
The former Congress president said the need of the hour was to pre-empt where the virus was moving. “If you want to fight the virus, you've to increase the testing dramatically. Your testing has to go from chasing the virus to moving ahead of it. You've to move to random testing and pre-empt where the virus is moving,” he said.
“The biggest weapon against Covid-19 is testing; testing at a scale so you know where the virus is moving and you can isolate, target and fight it. Our testing rate is 199 out of a million. All tests that we've done in last 72 days work out to approximately average of 350 tests per district.”
Gandhi also advised the Centre to assist the states in their fight against the pandemic which has killed 414 people in India and infected over 12,000 so far.
“Push testing aggressively and use testing strategically. Use it not just to track patients but to create a map of India to see where the virus is moving,” he said.
The Wayanad MP also pointed to the brewing migrant crisis in the country where workers are facing shortage of food and essentials. “The migrant labour issue is very serious. Government has to act fast and in a compassionate manner otherwise one can see a social unrest very fast in this country.”
Gandhi said though he disagreed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over several issues, it was time for all parties too unite and fight the pandemic.