COVID-19: Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel blames Centre’s inaction for spread of coronavirus

FE Online

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has held the central government responsible for the spread of the deadly coronavirus in the country. Had the Centre started taking preventive measures early, the situation would have been different, the Chief Minister said. The Chief Minister said that a lot of problems people are facing today could have been averted had the Centre screened and quarantined all passengers who came from other countries.

"This disease did not originate in India. This disease came to India through people who arrived in the country via international flights. Had all those people who landed in India - be it in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad or Chennai - in international flights... been screened and quarantined early on... then this situation would not have arisen... the disease would not have spread all over India... the problems that we are facing today could have been averted... this the Central government should have done," he told reporters on Thursday.

The Chief Minister also said that the government will take a final call on extending the lockdown in the state on Sunday after the Prime Minister’s meeting with all chief ministers of all states. The 21-day nationwide lockdown is scheduled to end on April 14. "We are looking forward to the Centre’s response on April 11 on extension of the lockdown and thereafter, a meeting of the Chhattisgarh cabinet will be held on April 12 to decide the future course of action," the Chief Minister said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting with Chief Ministers on Saturday via video-conferencing and is expected to come to a decision on whether to end the lockdown or extend it further.

To a question on the last month’s Tablighi Jamaat religious congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area, he said that no religious colour should be given to it. "I am not saying they are innocent. But the government had the list of all those coming from abroad. It should have identified and quarantined them," he said.

Chhattisgarh has reported 11 positive COVID-19 cases so far. According to Health Ministry data, the death toll due to the virus on Friday mounted to 199 while cases rose to 6,412.