Parties should not play politics on Covid-19: Mansukh Mandavia

Health minister Mansukh Mandavia emphasised in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that political parties and state governments should not bring politics into the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, which may have a third wave, even as he assured that the supply of vaccines, oxygen, medicines and other logistics is being ramped up.

The Upper House returned to normal functioning on the second day of the monsoon session with the opposition agreeing to the government’s proposal to hold a short duration discussion on the Covid situation, vaccination drive and challenges of the likely third wave.

In a spirited speech that was also his maiden one as health minister, Mandavia said the country is in a position where it is getting 110-120 million vaccines per month. He said India is headed towards developing the first DNA vaccines with Cadilla

completing third phase of trials. A vaccine for children is also at an advanced stage of development while a nasal vaccine may soon be a reality, he said.

However, in reply to a question from Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien that till now only 5% of the population has got both doses of the vaccine and how many people will India be able to vaccinate by 2021-end, Mandavia did not give any number. During the four-hour long debate that preceded the minister’s reply, 26 members from 21 political parties took part. Several opposition members charged the government with not revealing the real figures of those who died due to the virus and pointed out the acute shortage of oxygen, hospital beds, medicines like remdesivir and vaccines.

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