New Delhi: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Monday appealed to the Centre to ensure that more testing centres are made available on a war footing to contain the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far infected 114 people in the country and over one lakh globally.
Addressing a press conference here, CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury also criticised the Centre's move to withdraw its letter permitting utilisation of State Disaster Response Funds for dealing with the virus, saying it should be "reversed immediately".
"The Government of India must assist all states in ensuring that infrastructure is put in place immediately to contain this pandemic. The allocations for health must be substantially increased to ensure that a proper health care system is put in place in the country.
"In this context, the Polit Bureau denounces the fact that the central government, having issued orders to the states permitting the utilisation of State Disaster Response Funds for dealing with this pandemic, has within hours issued 'partial modification' by which compensation to families who have lost a member to this virus and for treatment of positive cases has been withdrawn. This has to be reversed immediately," Yechury said.
"It is unfortunate that instead of providing more relief, the Centre has amended its orders. This must be reversed right away and lives saved. Now. The Centre must ensure it provides all support that states and the people of India need to fight coronavirus," he added.
Briefing the media on the issues discussed at the Polit Bureau meeting held over the weekend, Yechury said the Bureau calls upon all its units and cadres to create awareness and scientific temper amongst the people to follow the required precautions to ensure the containment of this pandemic.
"The central and state governments must combat the spread of unscientific obscurantist preventive methods purveyed by many.
"India remains at the bottom of all the affected countries in the world in terms of testing suspected people. More testing centres must be made available on a war footing where all suspected persons should be tested promptly and consequent action taken. It is necessary to equip our rural areas with basic public health facilities which are very inadequate today," he said.
The CPI(M) general secretary also hailed the efforts of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala saying it "once again displayed its efficiency for containing the pandemic through its universal public health system limiting the damage."
Two people, including a UK national tested positive for COVID-19 in Kerala on Sunday, taking the total number of affected to 21 in the state as the government launched a "break the chain" initiative to prevent the spread of the virus.