Modi’s actions ‘inexcusable’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 10, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:32 AM, May 10, 2021

Modi’s actions ‘inexcusable’

Int’l medical journal The Lancet says Indian govt needs to own up Covid mistakes, warns deaths could touch 1m by August

India "squandered" its early successes in controlling Covid-19 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government could preside over "a self-inflicted national catastrophe", international medical journal The Lancet said in an editorial on Saturday. 

In a piece highly critical of the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the widely respected publication said the success of India overcoming the crisis will depend on PM Modi's administration "owning up to its mistakes".

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"[PM] Modi's actions in attempting to stifle criticism and open discussion during the crisis are inexcusable," it said.

"India squandered its early successes in controlling Covid-19. Until April, the government's Covid-19 taskforce had not met in months. The consequences of that decision are clear before us, and India must now restructure its response while the crisis rages," the Lancet editorial said.

The journal called out the government for giving out the impression that India had beaten Covid-19 after several months of low case counts, despite repeated warnings of the dangers of a second wave and the emergence of new strains.

"Despite warnings about the risks of super-spreader events, the government allowed religious festivals to go ahead, drawing millions of people from around the country, along with huge political rallies-conspicuous for their lack of Covid-19 mitigation measures," Lancet said.

Calling India's vaccination policy "botched" and "falling apart" at the central level, the journal noted that the government abruptly shifted course without discussing the change in policy with states and has managed to vaccinate less than 2 per cent of the population.

"At times, Modi's government has seemed more intent on removing criticism on Twitter than trying to control the pandemic," Lancet said.

"The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that India will see a staggering 1 million deaths from Covid-19 by Aug 1. If that outcome were to happen, Modi's government would be responsible for presiding over a self-inflicted national catastrophe," it added.

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