NEW DELHI, March 26 - Congress chief Sonia Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, supporting the lockdown announced in view of the coronavirus outbreak, while suggesting steps like protecting doctors and seeking deferment of loan recovery.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic sweeping the world had caused serious public health concerns, anguish and apprehensions in India, she wrote in her letter to the Prime Minister while noting that the 21-day lockdown to fight the coronavirus was a welcome step.
�It has imperiled lives and put at risk the lives and livelihoods of millions, particularly, the most vulnerable sections of our society. The entire nation stands as one in solidarity in the fight to halt and defeat the Corona pandemic,� Gandhi added.
�As president of the Indian National Congress, I would like to state that we will support and collaborate fully with every step taken by the Union Government to ensure the containment of the pandemic,� Gandhi said.
At this challenging and uncertain time, she said it was imperative for each one of us to rise above partisan interests and honour our duty towards our country and indeed, towards humanity.
�It is in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation therefore, that I would like to suggest some measures that I believe will help us address the massive health crisis we are about to face and ameliorate the immense economic and existential pain that vulnerable sections of our society will soon be subjected to,� the Congress chief said.
She stressed on the need to arm doctors, nurses and health workers with personal protection equipment, including N-95 masks and hazmat suits.
�Let us ensure the opening and scaling up of manufacture and supply of these items so that not a single health professional faces the predicament of contracting or passing on COVID-19 owing to unavailability of �Personal Protection Equipment�,� Gandhi said.
Announcing a special �Risk Allowance� for doctors, nurses and health workers for a period of six months retrospectively from March 1 was imperative, she added.
The Congress chief also called upon the Centre to immediately commission and begin construction of temporary facilities with large numbers of ICUs and ventilators in areas where the outbreak is expected to be concentrated in the near future. � PTI