Union Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday wrote to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot asking them to ensure adherence to COVID-19 guidelines during the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra, which finished its Rajasthan leg on Tuesday.
In the letter, Mandaviya said three MPs from Rajasthan — P P Chaudhary, Nihal Chand and Devji Patel — have flagged concerns and requested him that COVID-19 protocols, including use of masks and sanitisers, be strictly followed during the march and only those who are vaccinated be allowed to participate.
Referring to the letter signed by the three MPs, Mandaviya said that if following COVID-19 protocols was not possible, then he consider postponing the yatra in national interest, taking note of public health emergency.
In their letter dated December 20, the three MPs mentioned how the risk of COVID-19 has increased as people from other states are coming to Rajasthan to take part in the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The MPs claimed that symptoms have shown up in many of them after the participation.
The letter also makes a mention of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu who tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from the event held to mark the completion of 100 days of the march. The Himachal Pradesh Assembly, which was to be held from December 22 to 24 in Dharamshala, was also postponed after the newly-elected CM tested positive for Covid-19.
The Health minister, in his letter, asked Rahul Gandhi to address the concerns of the MPs amid concerns over COVID-19 cases rising in several countries, including China.
On Tuesday, the central Health ministry sounded an alert and directed all states and union territories to sequence all positive case samples on a daily basis. Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya will hold a meeting Wednesday with senior officials and experts to review the coronavirus situation in the country, with the nation reporting 1,200 cases a week.