Speaking to the media after filing his Rajya Sabha nomination on Thursday, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale drew a comparison between the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to plague. He opined that COVID-19 was coming to India 100 years after the plague epidemic in the country which had claimed thousands of lives.
Asserting that the Centre was taking all possible steps to tackle the threat posed by the novel coronavirus, he stressed the need to work together for preventing the loss of lives. Recently at a prayer meeting in Mumbai, he along with Tang Guocai- the Chinese Counsel General and Buddhist monks chanted the slogan- ‘Go Corona. Corona go’.
Ramdas Athawale remarked, “100 years ago, a disease called plague had afflicted India in which thousands and lakhs of people lost their lives. After 100 years, Corona is coming to India via China. The impact in India is not much. But this disease can prove to be fatal. The Indian government is taking maximum steps. Maharashtra has also seen confirmed cases of Coronavirus. They are being accorded the best treatment. It is necessary to stop him. Because many people can get affected. We have to work together to save the lives of each other. That’s why I said- ‘the dark night of Corona has come to India, so don’t play Holi’.”
First detected in Wuhan in December 2019, COVID-19- the novel coronavirus has affected nearly 118 countries in the world. Presently, there are over 1,24,518 confirmed cases of COVID-19 which has led to the death of 4,607 people. As there is no vaccine or specific antiviral medicine to deal to treat COVID-19, countries have been grappling with all possible mechanisms to contain its scope. So far, China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran have witnessed the most number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak as 'pandemic'. Meanwhile, India that has 73 confirmed cases of COVID-19 suspended all visas, barring for a few categories such as diplomatic and employment apart from keeping in abeyance the visa-free travel facility to OCI cardholders till April 15. Moreover, the Centre has “strongly advised” Indians to avoid all non-essential travel abroad.