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Yechury urges PM Modi to scale up coronavirus testing during lockdown

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 23, 2020

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury   -  PTI

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to scale up the testing of people, particularly those with declared symptoms, during the lockdown. He said such tests will help in finding out areas affected by the Covid 19 disease and enforcing the lockdown to those places.

He said all testing kits approved by the National Institute of Virology must be utilised. "It is strange that the Union Health Ministry has issued a circular that only those testing kits approved by the US FDA and European EC alone will be used. Reports indicate that there is only one manufacturer in Gujarat who produces such kits. In view of the gravity of the situation, this circular must be withdrawn and all kits approved by the NIV must be deployed for use, urgently," Yechury demanded.

He said crores of families that survive on the daily earnings are currently suffering grievously because of such lockdowns. "It is necessary that immediately at least ₹5,000 should be transferred to the Jan Dhan accounts and BPL beneficiaries. Ration kits must be supplied to the families of the children who used to benefit from the mid-day meal scheme. Free ration through PDS to all BPL/APL families should be given for a month," Yechury added in the letter.

"Many countries have announced that the government will guarantee the payment of at least 80 per cent of the salaries being drawn by workers who are now unable to attend work. Government of India should do likewise. Alongside there should be a moratorium on bank loans for a year for SMEs and retail traders as well as on EMIs," the letter said and asked for separate funds for a substantial package to save the lives and livelihood of crores of people.

Published on March 23, 2020

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