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No Congress, Dr Tedros saying the same thing as Rahul Gandhi is nothing to celebrate: Here’s why

Many medical professionals believe that for India, targeted testing for clusters and those at high risk is needed, not necessarily higher rate of testing like South Korea.

A disease often has no race or religion. It has no caste, creed or colour. But in the case of Coronavirus, it certainly has a country and an enabler that let millions get infected to pander to the country the virus originated in. China confirmed its first case of the Coronavirus on 18th November. The WHO, led by Dr Tedros declared it a pandemic only on the 12th of March. Everything that happened in between was an absolute abomination and nations world over are demanding answers. While the world demands answers, Congress is busy celebrating how the beautiful mind of Rahul Gandhi functions in the same direction as Dr Tedros.

On the 16th of April, Rahul Gandhi had held a press conference, where he said that the lockdown will only slow the virus down, but eventually, it is more testing that can ensure India defeats the pandemic. Of course, I am paraphrasing here, because the language he used was slightly strange where he gave some ‘door’ analogy. 4 days later, on the 20th of April, Dr Tedros, the WHO chief, said the same thing. Needless to say, the Congress started a celebration of sorts on Twitter saying that ‘WHO is with Congress’, essentially taking Tedros’ statement as some sort of international endorsement of Rahul Gandhi.

Several Congress workers, leaders and loyalists began to hail the wisdom in Rahul Gandhi’s words after the “endorsement” from Dr Tedros.

Most tweets were on the same line. Soon, #WHO_With_Rahul was trending on Twitter after a coordinated campaign was unleashed by Congress.

The question remains, however, should Rahul Gandhi or Congress be celebrating the endorsement (even if not direct) of Dr Tedros?

Views on Lockdown and the fight against Coronavirus

The view is not entirely incorrect. The Coronavirus pandemic cannot be stopped only by Lockdowns and there are several other measures that need two be taken. However, the “testing testing testing” trope might not be entirely accurate or even factually correct when it comes to India.

Most people who are repeating the trope about increased testing are doing so with the reference of Germany or South Korea in mind. South Korea has managed to test about 1 person out of every 150 people (give or take). That would percolate to millions of tests in India, which is strategicall, logistically and financially a silly thing to suggest.

The population of South Korea is 5.16 crores. The population of Uttar Pradesh itself is five times that, 20.42 crores (that too, according to 2012 census). The logistical problem India is faced with in terms of more testing is vast and taking the example of a country that has less population that one state in India, is outlandish.

With the lockdown, the rate of increase in cases have reduced drastically and after the spike due to Tablighi Jamaat, the curve seems to have flattened more or less yet again. What is needed, many medical professionals believe is targeted testing for clusters and those at high risk – not necessarily higher rate of testing like South Korea.

Dr Ashok Seth, Chairman of Fortis Escorts Heart Institute had said, “India has ramped up its testing in the last 10 days and the increase in new cases seems to be flattening as a percentage of tested or total cases. I can confidently state that these numbers seem to be correct and the situation still remains under control. So clearly, unlike the West, a strategy of pre-emptive and strict lockdown with limited testing, followed now by increased testing to strategise release of lockdown seems to be working in India”.

In an interview, Dr Muliyal, an Epidemiologist said just as much. He said India is testing enough.

Interview by Bloomberg Quint

Dr Tedros is a man who clearly harbours utter disdain for countries that call our his personal bias and his culpability in the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. Other than tweeting disconnected one words, pushing the world into an apocalyptic situation and shielding China from culpability, Tedros has hardly played a part in the containment of the virus.

While the merits of strategy can be debated, Rahul Gandhi would do well to not take Dr Tedros’ word as an endorsement of his own intellect.

Dr Tedros – A man who should ideally be tried for mass murder

Dr Tedros, the Chief of WHO is the man of the house, but not in a very flattering way. The world is questioning his conduct, his proximity of China, and his role in the spread of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Experts like Bradley Thayer, a political science professor at the University of Texas, San Antonio, and Lianchao Han, the vice president of Citizen Power Initiatives for China, questioned why the WHO and its director-general waited so long when health officials from various governments alerted them of the widespread devastation weeks in advance. It is worthy to note that while China discovered its first patient on November 18th, the Coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the WHO only in March.

Experts are of the view that this laxity and callousness has caused more than 170,000 deaths across the globe and that the organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, like China’s Xi Jinping, should be held accountable for recklessly managing this deadly pandemic. 

On January 11th, WHO had declared that it does not recommend any extra travel precautions for those travelling to and from Wuhan, the city of origin of the pandemic in China. As a result, over 5 million people had left the city of Wuhan before China put stringent measures in place, thereby infecting thousands across the globe.  

It is also pertinent to note that Dr Tedros had met Xi Jinping in January, and many believe, that it was after this meeting that Tedros downplayed the severity of the pandemic.

The spread was also facilitated by the WHO declaring that there was no proof of human-to-human infection, this, after Taiwan had specifically written to WHO on the 31st of December warning about human-to-human transfer. WHO had ignored warnings by Taiwan because according to China, Taiwan has no agency to approach WHO.

With the world asking questions and Tedros being the man who’s conduct led to over 170000 deaths and counting, every leader should join the chorus in questioning not only China but also Dr Tedros. In a civilised world where the country was not dependent on China for its manufacturing needs, China and Dr Tedros would have been tried for mass murders.

Even politically speaking, questioning Tedros and China is a far better strategy to, at least, appear matured in the eye of the electorate. It then defies logic that Congress would celebrate an endorsement by Dr Tedros of the pearls of wisdom spouted by Rahul Gandhi.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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