At a press conference on Thursday, Luv Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Union Health Ministry, was asked if rising temperatures will arrest the spread of Covid19.
“It is a new virus. A lot is not known about the virus,” he said. In a nutshell, he swept aside the rather confident assertions made first by Telangana Health minister E Rajender (in pic below) and then chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao that come summer, Corona virus will be history. Not that the duo was entirely to blame because many leading doctors too had spoken on similar lines and had equated Corona with just any other flu.
But while it is to be appreciated that Telangana reacted quick to the problem at hand, its response has not been the most perfect. KCR admitted in the Telangana Assembly that he personally had no knowledge about Corona Virus and quoted an unnamed scientist who had told him there is no need to panic over the virus and that “it is enough to take a paracetamol tablet”. Rajender was embarrassed when he was later asked to clarify the CM’s remark on paracetamol and walked away in a huff.
Three days after KCR made that statement, Muhammed Hussain Siddiqui, a 76-year-old from Kalaburgi in north Karnataka became the first victim of Covid19 in India. He had been admitted to a private hospital in Hyderabad. The health authorities are now engaged in tracking who all the senior citizen came in contact with on his way from Kalaburgi to Hyderabad and isolating them. It is clear that the war against Corona Virus pandemic needs more than a paracetamol.
KCR would regret using harsh words against the Bengaluru techie who travelled by bus to Hyderabad and initially tested positive for Covid19. Subsequent tests at Pune showed up negative.
“The disease originated in China. Because people are travelling, people from other places who contracted the disease when they are coming here, the disease is spreading. One such sannasi daridrudu (unfortunate nincompoop) has come here and lit the fire. As soon as he came here, Rajender caught him,” he said.
The BJP was critical of KCR’s language, accusing him of taking the health threat rather lightly.