Sonia Gandhi reviews efforts to tackle COVID-19 in Congress-ruled states
New Delhi, Apr 10: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday reviewed the efforts by the states ruled by her party to tackle the second wave of the coronavirus infection and the vaccination drive.
Addressing a virtual meeting with the chief ministers of the Congress-ruled states and ministers of the party in states where it is in power in alliance with others, she said the priority should be to test, track and vaccinate.
Gandhi also reviewed the efforts to fight COVID-19, including the availability of vaccines, access to medicines and ventilators, Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. "The priority is to test, track and vaccinate," he wrote on Twitter, quoting Gandhi.
Several states including Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, UP, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar are facing vaccine shortages.
The meeting comes a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to place an immediate moratorium on the export of vaccines, fast track approval of other vaccines and open up vaccination to everyone who needs it.
Criticising the Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi asked whether the export of vaccines was an effort to garner "publicity".
Referring to the PM's appeal to the Chief Ministers to organise a vaccine festival from April 11 to 14, Gandhi tweeted that shortage of vaccines amid the rise in COVID-19 cases is a very serious issue.
"India had the first-mover advantage in vaccination and yet we are moving at a snail's pace. Historically, India has achieved abundant experience in designing and executing some of the world''s biggest vaccination programmes. Yet in the present case, we have managed to fully vaccinate less than 1% of the population in 3 months..." the letter claimed.
"While our nation is facing vaccine starvation, more than 6 crore doses of vaccines have been exported... Was the export of vaccines also an ''oversight'', like many other decisions of this government, or an effort to garner publicity at the cost of our citizens?""Double central allocation for vaccine procurement from the existing Rs 35,000 crore. Give State governments a greater say in vaccine procurement and distribution. Provide direct income support to the vulnerable sections in the disastrous second wave," Rahul Gandhi claimed in his letter.