No, Rahul Gandhi. The Modi govt is taking the coronavirus threat VERY seriously.
When you look at the facts, the picture that emerges is of a country that may not be ideally equipped to tackle the coronavirus epidemic but is still trying sincerely -- and not of an administration that "is not taking this threat seriously".
Rahul Gandhi feels the Indian government isn't taking the coronavirus threat seriously -- he said as much in a tweet he shot off to over 12 million followers on February 12.
The Congress MP offered little proof for that claim, unless you count a Harvard University news story detailing the scale of the epidemic, which has since grown ever more dire with no peak on the horizon.
As one of India's seniormost Opposition figures, Rahul Gandhi is duty-bound to hold the government to account. That's especially true during the outbreak of a disease (now known as Covid-19) that appears to be matched in virality by the "infodemic" of fake news surrounding it. But it is one thing to lay out a careful analysis of the government's preparedness to deal with an epidemic -- such commentary is essential, and it already exists -- and quite another to attack its intentions despite evidence to the contrary.
The Indian government's decision to fly home its students from Wuhan city, the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic, is the envy of our Pakistani neighbours. New Delhi has cancelled visas for foreign nationals coming from China, and cautioned Indians against travel to it -- this, despite obvious economic risks. The government is providing the public with regular updates and advice, including through tweets. It is screening air passengers and monitoring individuals at risk.
This is not to say, of course, that no concerns or challenges exist -- far from it. Experts from the University of Southampton say India is one of 30 nations at "high risk" from the novel coronavirus. A comprehensive India Today magazine report describes a number of potential risk factors, including the lack of supportive intensive care outside big cities, the need for more labs, and limited expertise. Since the outbreak began, the government has taken some stick for publishing advisories pushing homeopathy and unani as options to prevent or manage infections. Overseas, Indians still under lockdown in China's Hubei province or quarantined on a cruise ship off Japan's coast need assistance.
The picture that emerges is of a country that may not be ideally equipped to tackle a dangerous epidemic but is still trying sincerely -- and not of an administration that "is not taking this threat seriously".
If Shakespeare were around, he may well be moved to write: Indifference should be made of other stuff.