Provide responsible leadership, own up mistakes, Lancet tells Modi govt

Provide responsible leadership, own up mistakes, Lancet tells Modi govt

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister. PTI

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 8

Leading international medical journal The Lancet on Saturday called upon the Modi-led government to “own up to its mistakes, provide responsible leadership and implement a public health response that has science at its heart to contain Covid”.

In its editorial today, The Lancet said India squandered its early successes in controlling Covid-19 and till April, the government’s taskforce had not met in months.

Global medical journal’s observations

  • Government’s attempts to stifle criticism inexcusable
  • Even before the 2nd wave, govt declared it was Covid ‘endgame’
  • Its actions falsely suggested that India had reached herd immunity
  • Despite warnings, it allowed huge political rallies, events

It said even before the second wave began in early March, Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan declared that the country was in the “endgame” of the pandemic.

Citing Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, says india’s death toll may touch 1 mn by August 1

“The impression given was that India had beaten Covid after months of low case count, despite warnings of the second wave danger and emergence of new strains. Modelling suggested falsely that India had reached herd immunity. At times, the Modi government seemed more intent on removing criticism on Twitter than trying to control the pandemic,” the editorial dedicated to India said. It took note of how the Modi government allowed religious festivals and huge political rallies giving a message that Covid-19 was essentially over.

“This slowed the start of India’s vaccination campaign, which has covered less than 2 per cent of the population,” said the Lancet, adding that at a federal level, India’s vaccination plan fell apart as the government “abruptly shifted course expanding vaccination to everyone older than 18 years, draining supplies”.

The Lancet advised India to rationalise the vaccine policy and implement it with due speed now.

“Genome sequencing needs to be expanded to better track and understand more transmissible variants,” the comment elaborated, noting, “Modi’s actions in attempting to stifle criticism and open discussion during the crisis are inexcusable.”

Citing a grim estimate by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that India will see 1 million Covid deaths by August 1, The Lancet said if that were to happen, the government would be responsible for presiding over a self-inflicted national catastrophe.

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