The government never said the coronavirus cases will be zero by a particular date, NITI Aayog member V K Paul said on Friday and apologised for any misconception on the matter. Responding to a question at the Health Ministry press briefing, Paul said the graph presented previously by him was based on mathematical data and there was “no mention of zero word on the graph”. “Even I never said the cases would be zero by a particular date,” he told reporters. “We showed you factual information and no claim was made. I apologise for the misconception and it was not what was meant to be conveyed,” he added.
In April, Paul made a presentation at a Health Ministry briefing in which he explained how the lockdown helped curtail the spread of the virus. In one of the slides, the curve showed active cases plummeting to zero by May 16.
On Friday, Paul said lockdown was a special effort but it cannot go on for unlimited time. “Normalcy must return and there is also the question of the livelihoods of people. Lockdown cannot go on forever. It was meant for a purpose and it achieved the purpose to a very large extent. Now it is very important that we exhibit our behaviour in a manner that creates difficulties for the virus,” he said. The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 3,583 and the cases climbed to 1,18,447 in India, according to the Health Ministry.