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Rahul for united fight against COVID-19, aggressive testing

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, April 16 - Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday called for a united fight against COVID-19 and said a lockdown is no solution, but aggressive testing is the main weapon to defeat the coronavirus and it should be used strategically.

Addressing a press conference via video link, he said India will emerge as a better place if everyone fights the virus with confidence and not out of fear. Noting that the ongoing nationwide lockdown is like a �pause button� and not a solution to defeat the virus, the former Congress chief said testing is the real weapon against it, which India should use strategically.

Calling upon the government to quickly resolve the issue of the migrants stranded at various places without food and money, he feared that it might lead to social unrest otherwise.

He also called for a provision of food to be distributed among the poor and marginalised, while providing a safety net for the MSMEs and other strategic industries, which foreign entities may be eying for takeovers.

�In no way does a lockdown defeat the virus. It stops the virus for some time. The biggest weapon to fight the virus is testing. Testing is scaled to know where the virus is moving and you can isolate it and target it,� he said.

Gandhi said the scale of testing in India has been low so far at 199 per 10 lakh people � around 350 tests per district � which he said is not enough to tell which way the virus is moving. �If you have to fight the virus, you have to increase testing dramatically... That means you have to move into random testing,�

he noted.

�When we come out of the lockdown, the virus is going to start its work. It is important that we have a strategy in place to come out of the lockdown,� he said, adding that it is time to ramp up testing and put adequate infrastructure in place when the virus picks up again.

Urging people not to be worried, Gandhi said they should fight the virus unitedly as the country is bigger than any disease, while asserting that India will overcome the current crisis too. �...Caste, religion and creed will have to be forgotten in fighting this virus,� he said.

Calling for a �strategic opening� of the lockdown, Gandhi suggested opening certain key areas and to use testing to identify hotspots. �This is where ramping up testing is important, to dynamically identify the hotspots,� he said, suggesting creation of two basic zones � a hotspot zone and a non-hotspot zone.

The Congress leader said the pandemic will have a negative effect on the country�s economy, while adding that people are becoming unemployed and �it is going to get worse�. He also called for preparing packages for SMEs as well as for big companies.

Calling for providing money and foodgrains to the poor, he said in line with the proposed NYAY scheme of the Congress, the government should give money directly to 20 per cent of the poor people in the country because they are facing difficulties.

He also called for setting up structures and managing funds, saying if all the money is spent now, there can be a financial crisis later. �Hence, you need to think and move strategically,� he said, adding that there is going to be a massive financial backlash due to COVID-19 and waves of unemployment that will put a huge pressure on our financial system.

The Congress leader also called for granting adequate resources to the states to help them deal with COVID-19 in a �nuanced� manner. He insisted that there is a need for devolution of powers to the states to help them effectively deal with the situation. � PTI

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)

Rahul for united fight against COVID-19, aggressive testing

NEW DELHI, April 16 - Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday called for a united fight against COVID-19 and said a lockdown is no solution, but aggressive testing is the main weapon to defeat the coronavirus and it should be used strategically.

Addressing a press conference via video link, he said India will emerge as a better place if everyone fights the virus with confidence and not out of fear. Noting that the ongoing nationwide lockdown is like a �pause button� and not a solution to defeat the virus, the former Congress chief said testing is the real weapon against it, which India should use strategically.

Calling upon the government to quickly resolve the issue of the migrants stranded at various places without food and money, he feared that it might lead to social unrest otherwise.

He also called for a provision of food to be distributed among the poor and marginalised, while providing a safety net for the MSMEs and other strategic industries, which foreign entities may be eying for takeovers.

�In no way does a lockdown defeat the virus. It stops the virus for some time. The biggest weapon to fight the virus is testing. Testing is scaled to know where the virus is moving and you can isolate it and target it,� he said.

Gandhi said the scale of testing in India has been low so far at 199 per 10 lakh people � around 350 tests per district � which he said is not enough to tell which way the virus is moving. �If you have to fight the virus, you have to increase testing dramatically... That means you have to move into random testing,�

he noted.

�When we come out of the lockdown, the virus is going to start its work. It is important that we have a strategy in place to come out of the lockdown,� he said, adding that it is time to ramp up testing and put adequate infrastructure in place when the virus picks up again.

Urging people not to be worried, Gandhi said they should fight the virus unitedly as the country is bigger than any disease, while asserting that India will overcome the current crisis too. �...Caste, religion and creed will have to be forgotten in fighting this virus,� he said.

Calling for a �strategic opening� of the lockdown, Gandhi suggested opening certain key areas and to use testing to identify hotspots. �This is where ramping up testing is important, to dynamically identify the hotspots,� he said, suggesting creation of two basic zones � a hotspot zone and a non-hotspot zone.

The Congress leader said the pandemic will have a negative effect on the country�s economy, while adding that people are becoming unemployed and �it is going to get worse�. He also called for preparing packages for SMEs as well as for big companies.

Calling for providing money and foodgrains to the poor, he said in line with the proposed NYAY scheme of the Congress, the government should give money directly to 20 per cent of the poor people in the country because they are facing difficulties.

He also called for setting up structures and managing funds, saying if all the money is spent now, there can be a financial crisis later. �Hence, you need to think and move strategically,� he said, adding that there is going to be a massive financial backlash due to COVID-19 and waves of unemployment that will put a huge pressure on our financial system.

The Congress leader also called for granting adequate resources to the states to help them deal with COVID-19 in a �nuanced� manner. He insisted that there is a need for devolution of powers to the states to help them effectively deal with the situation. � PTI

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)