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COVID-19: Allow parliament panel on health to interact with health ministry, ICMR, says a senior politician

PTI May 23, 2020

The parliamentary standing committee on health should be allowed to interact with the health ministry and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on COVID-19, senior politician said on May 21.

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He also demanded experts tell the truth to the country on the COVID-19 situation based on facts and science. "Why has the government of India discontinued daily briefings on the health situation? All countries inform their citizens through the press in a time of crisis. At such times credible and professionally competent faces should be telling us what is happening," he asked.

The politician said the standing committee on health, of which he was a member for five years, is chaired by the very sober and responsible politician. "The committee should be allowed to meet and interact with the health ministry and the ICMR," he said. "The health minister, a medical doctor himself, has so far stayed away from daily briefings. My suggestion to the government: Let Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director of AIIMS, brief the country every evening. Let experts speak relying on facts and science. Our citizens deserve the truth," he said in a series of tweets.

He said an health ministry official during briefings on the COVID-19 situation kept saying that "maybe the peak will never come". "What are we to make of this assertion? Is there a larger design to this statement made not once but thrice," he questioned.

The health ministry, which used to hold daily briefings since the imposition of lockdown from March 25, has now reduced the number of briefings a week and holds them occasionally. The politician also said that the recovery rates are rising, says the government. "Fine. But does this have any scientific meaning," he asked. The recovery rate is a function of the time of entry into hospital, he said, asking what about cases where the COVID-19 patient does not have access or is denied entry into hospitals.

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