'Will aid every govt effort in battle against COVID-19'

Will support every effort of govt in battle against coronavirus: Congress

The Congress on Thursday said it will support every effort of the government in the battle against the coronavirus.

Senior spokesperson of the opposition party Ajay Maken suggested creation of more testing facilities and conducting more tests in the country, while noting that there should be no shortage of any protective equipment for those engaged in combatting the virus.

For latest updates on coronavirus outbreak, click here

He also pitched for creation of new containment zones and treatment facilities, besides increasing the number of ICU beds in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

"The Congress party and its workers will stand by the government in all its endeavours to fight the coronavirus. We will help spread the word on preventive measures. We will also organise any emergency service, if needed," Maken told reporters here.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation on the coronavirus threat, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said he was duty-bound to support the PM.

"I am duty bound to support the PM. In effect, the PM has asked the people to wage the war against COVID with moral armaments. We shall do so on Sunday and in the following days," the former Union minister said in a tweet.

"I have the feeling that the PM will come back in the next few days to announce tougher social and economic measures," he added.

Calling for "resolve and restraint" to fight the coronavirus, Modi asked the entire country on Thursday to observe a "Janta curfew" on Sunday.

Maken said on February 12, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had urged the government to prepare for the battle against coronavirus and on March 6, party president Sonia Gandhi had written to the chief ministers of all the Congress-ruled states, asking them to prepare for the fight against the virus.

"We expect that the government will not suppress and withhold data pertaining to coronavirus. We also expect complete transparency from the government on putting the data in public domain.

Read: PM Narendra Modi calls for 'Janta Curfew' on March 22

"The Congress will support the citizens' curfew announced by the prime minister. In case the government goes for a complete lockdown, it should prepare itself from now on as regards provisions for essential commodities and maintenance of essential services," he said.

Maken urged the government to do advance planning in this regard.

The Congress thanked the doctors, health workers and airport staff, who were rendering yeoman service while subjecting themselves to risks, Maken said.

"We welcome and support the steps taken by the government in combatting the coronavirus.

"The government should also raise the number of testing facilities and tests at all levels and it should be serious on the issue," he added.

The Congress leader hoped that the government would also facilitate the bringing back of Indian citizens who were struck abroad. 

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox