COVID-19: Rope in Indian embassies to test NRIs abroad, says Congress

200 teams fan out to locate 603 Tablighi Jamaatis in Hyderabad

New Delhi: The Congress has demanded urgent measures to deal with the alleged increasing number of coronavirus positive cases and casualties among the Non-Resident Indian communities abroad and demanded tests for them.

Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal said that in the “absence” of rapid testing and “immediate access” to health facilities have put their lives in imminent danger and demanded all possible steps to coordinate with Indian Embassies to locate and provide health facilities to Indian-origin persons abroad to get tested for coronavirus infection.

“A proper control room as well as emergency medical team coordinating with the respective governments may be constituted in these embassies to provide urgent medical care to those in need,” said Venugopal

Venugopal in his letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan demanded Centre’s intervention to ensure Personal Protective Equipment for doctors, nurses and health workers as well as implementation of “protective protocol” to avoid cluster transmission among health workers after such cases were reported in a hospital in Mumbai.

He said that big clusters of transmission cases had been reported in hospitals in Mumbai and Delhi, and pointed towards an alarming failure in taking precautions and ensuring personal protective equipment for frontline health personnel.

“The growing number of doctors, nurses and health workers with coronavirus infections underscored the need for ensuring protective gears, masks and hazmat suits. In many instances, the healthcare workers got infected while attending to patients without securing themselves with Personal Protective Equipment,” said the senior Congress leader.

He urged the government not to neglect PPE for health workers and to take urgent measures to this end in all government as well as private hospitals.

“If ignored, this can have catastrophic consequences for our collective fight against coronavirus transmission and treatment,” he warned.