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Need aggressive testing: Harvard expert tells Rahul Gandhi

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New Delhi, May 27: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday held a dialogue with global public healthcare expert Dr Ashish Jha and epidemiologist, Professor Johan Geisecke of the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, on the Covid-19 crisis.

Ashish Jha in conversation with Rahul Gandhi

During the conversation, Jha said that India needed to come up with a strategy to open the economy and create confidence among the people.

Coronavirus crisis: If 9/11 is a chapter, then COVID-19 is a whole book, says Rahul Gandhi

He further said that he was not convinced that India could not do more testing for the novel coronavirus than what it was currently doing.

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    While Jha exuded confidence that a vaccine will be available in a year's time, Prof Giesecke said India should practice a lockdown that is as 'soft' as possible, as a severe lockdown will ruin its economy very quickly.

    "When the economy is opened up after lockdown, you have to create confidence among people," Harvard health expert Ashish Jha told Gandhi.

    Jha is a professor of Global Health at TH Chan School of Public Health and Director, Harvard Global Health Institute. He said coronavirus is a '12-18 months' problem and the world is not going to be free of this till 2021.

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    The expert also called for the need for aggressive testing strategy for high-risk areas. Gandhi, while interacting with the experts, said life is going to change post COVID-19.

    This is the third such interaction in on-going series of dialogues with globally recognised experts on economics, social sciences, healthcare and other areas, on tackling the Covid-19 crisis.

    Previous episodes have featured conversations with world-renowned economist Raghuram Rajan and Nobel Prize winner Abhijit Banerjee.

    The former Congress president said on Tuesday that lockdown has failed.

    "I want to ask the government with utmost humility and in a completely non-partisan manner, what is the Government's plan to tackle this growing crisis? It is now clear that 4 stages of lockdown haven't delivered results that were anticipated. What is the government's plan B?", read the letter adding that there were 'many critical questions that the government was not providing answers to," said Rahul.

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