MP's discuss COVID-19 in Parliament

Coronavirus: MP's discuss COVID-19 in Parliament

Dispel rumours like eating chicken will lead to coronavirus, ensure that ATMs are sanitised, curtail ongoing Parliament Session and extend screening at domestic terminals of airports were among a slew of measures suggested by Rajya Sabha MPs on Monday to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the country. 

MPs from CPI(M)'s Elamaram Kareem to Trinamool Congress' Derek O'Brien, BJP's Vikas Mahatme, BJD's Sasmit Patra and AIADMK's R Balasubramoniyan spoke on various aspects of the fighting COVID-19 during Zero Hour. 

Mahatme raised the issue of rumours on social media and other platforms about eating chicken would spread COVID-19. He wanted the government to dispel such measures. 

"There is no scientific basis for this. Anybody can eat chicken," he said while demanding the government should also rope in private sector and NGOs in the fight against COVID-19. 

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said the government and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) should take steps to dispel rumours. 

A former BJP MP had earlier said that eating non-vegetarian food would lead to contracting COVID-19. In Lok Sabha, Congress MP Hibi Eden on Monday submitted an adjournment motion against spreading "superstition" in the name of fighting COVID-19. 

"Linking a deadly virus to food habits and proclaiming it to be an evil incarnation due to sinful non-vegetarianism is the worst statement in times such as this," Eden said in his notice. 

In Rajya Sabha, Balasubramoniyan said the outbreak has created panic among people and wanted to know from the government whether it was willing to curtail the Budget session, which is scheduled to end on April 3. "They can bring the Budget and pass Appropriation Bills in next two-three days and then Parliament could be adjourned," he suggested. 

Patra said a large number of people use ATMs but sanitisation does not take place, which is a matter of concern. With social distancing being advocated to fight COVID-19, he said daily wage labourers may be at risk on financial count and government should devise a method to help them financially. 

He also demanded that testing labs should be enhanced from the existing 51, which has the capacity to conduct 4,590 tests per day. 

Kareem brought to the notice that several airlines and Indian Railways were charging cancellation fees and wanted the government to intervene to stop this practice during this season. 

O'Brien said people in high offices should spread the word about simple precautions like washing hands.

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