As India is battling the second wave of coronavirus, a team of scientists has revealed that the Central government has ignored warnings about a possible second wave in the country triggered by mutant Covid variants. According to a report published in Reuters, a forum of scientific advisers set up by the Union government had issued warnings in March regarding a potential second wave, which will be triggered by a more contagious variant of the pandemic.
Cental Government ignored Covid warnings
Even though scientists issued warning regarding the second wave of coronavirus in India, the Central Government did not seek to impose major restrictions to stop the spread of the virus. It was during these times that several religious gatherings happened in the nation, and election campaign rallies with lakhs of people were conducted in states like Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, and Puducherry.
Interestingly, prime minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah too attended political rallies involving thousands of people. Farmers' protests against the Centre's agricultural policy changes also happened during this period, and all these factors might have contributed to the rising Covid cases in the country.
Negligence triggered Covid second wave in India
The warning about the new mutated variant of coronavirus was issued by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium or INSACOG in early March. According to one of the scientists who talked to Reuters, the warning was issued by a top scientist who directly reports to prime minister Narendra Modi. However, Reuters could not determine whether the c INSACOG findings were passed on to directly to Modi.
"Policy has to be based on evidence and not the other way around. I am worried that science was not taken into account to drive policy. But I know where my jurisdiction stops. As scientists we provide the evidence, policymaking is the job of the government," Shahid Jameel, chair of the scientific advisory group of INSACOG told Reuters.
Medical experts believe that the Indian variant of coronavirus, also known as B.1.617 is a highly contagious strain, and it is primarily responsible for the recent surge in positive cases. On April 30, India witnessed more than 4,00,000 fresh Covid cases. It should be noted that this is for the first time that a country is witnessing more than 4,00,000 fresh cases in a single day.