Members in Lok Sabha gave various suggestions to prevent the spread of coronavirus including greeting people with ‘namaste’ instead of a handshake, having quarantine facilities outside city limits and virology labs in different regions of the country.
The House witnessed normal functioning briefly as opposition members suspended their protest against the government to listen to the statement made by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on the situation concerning novel coronavirus.
Navneet Ravi Rana, an independent member from Amravati in Maharashtra, had come to the House wearing a face mask. She conveyed her concerns about coronavirus wearing the mask and had earlier asked a query wearing it.
The smooth functioning of the House was interrupted after Rashtriya Loktantrik Party MP Hanuman Beniwal made some remarks about Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi which enraged Congress members who came to the well of the House and forced an adjournment.
Hasnain Masoodi of National Conference said that students and pilgrims from Kargil were stuck in Iran, which has recorded several cases of coronavirus. He accused the government of not showing priority to evacuate them.
“The government should have taken steps to get them back,” he said.
Raghu Ramakrishna Raju Kanumuru of the YSRC party laid emphasis on greeting people with `namaste’ saying it is part of “traditional Hindu culture”.
As some members in opposition interrupted, he said it is part of “traditional Indian culture”. He also said people can also greet each other with “aadab”.
Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the government should lay special thrust on protecting vulnerable sections and rumours must not be allowed to spread.
He said many people were not familiar with hand sanitizer and the government should ensure adequate availability of soap, water and sanitizers in rural areas.
Chowdhury said there should be adequate facilities to deal with coronavirus in every district. He called for identification of vulnerable areas and said party leader Rahul Gandhi has already cautioned the government about the problems that may arise.
DMK member Kanimozhi said that facilities for quarantining people should not be created within the city but outside it.
She said more centres should have been created by the government on the lines of virology institute in Pune.
The DMK member also said that thermal screening was not being done at all airports.
Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress said that the House had gathered in peace after a four-day hiatus to discuss a serious matter concerning the health of people.
Ritesh Pandey of BSP said that the cost of masks and sanitizers has increased steeply and alleged that some companies were indulging in profiteering by taking advantage of the situation.
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav said there was a scare about coronavirus and also took a dig at the government saying it keeps “scaring”.
He said all steps should be taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus and cautioned that if it spreads among the poor, many lives will be lost.
Several members spoke of the need to create awareness among people about coronavirus.