Congress leader Rahul Gandhi pitched a slew of suggestions on how government should combat the coronavirus outbreak in the country. The Congress leader proposed scaling up of coronavirus testing and asked the centre to find out where the country stands in fighting the global outbreak. He said, "India's testing rate very low at 199 per million so far and the country needs to ramp up testing". Addressing the press via video press conference, the 49-year-old Congress leader said that the entire country has to fight the crisis "unitedly" and the states need to have adequate resources in order to deal with the crisis in a nuanced manner. He also suggested the implementation of the NYAY scheme-- a social welfare program introduced by the party during 2019 general elections.
Here are the top 10 highlights of Gandhi's press conference:
1. "The government should decentralise resources to fight COVID-19, hand them over to states," said Gandhi.
2. The Congress leader said that state CMs should be given more powers to handle COVID-19 and Centre should only control the main national system.
3. The Government of India needs to design an architecture to expand COVID-19 tests exponentially, he said.
4. Rahul Gandhi said, "The country should be divided into two zones-- Hotspot zone, non-hotspot zone, and patients should be tested aggressively".
5. "Instead of conducting tests on the basis of suspected cases, the government should test aggressively and find out where the country stands," stated the Congress leader.
6. COVID-19 will lead to a massive economic backlash for India, he said.
7. "The government should create a food net and implement NYAY scheme to provide financial help to the poor," said Gandhi.
8. "Protect big strategic companies and create a defensive package for MSMEs," he said.
9. Lockdown may stop the coronavirus spread for some time but cannot defeat the virus. It might start spreading again when the lockdown lifted, said the Congress leader.
10. Rahul Gandhi said, "Fight against COVID-19 has only started, declaring victory as of now will be wrong."
As of April 16, 8am India's tally of active coronavirus cases was 10,477, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In the last 24-hour, India reported 721 numbers of active cases and 37 deaths. India has registered around 414 deaths, so far. The tally of cured or discharged patients have surged to 1,488, the ministry added.