Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his overnight suspense before his announcement that he would consider giving up his social media accounts, and asked him instead to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic.
“Quit wasting India’s time playing the clown with your social media accounts, when India is facing an emergency,” he tweeted. “Focus the attention of every Indian on taking on the corona virus challenge.”
Earlier in the day, Modi gave more details about his cryptic tweet and said he would be handing over his accounts on March 8 to “inspiring women” on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
Gandhi tweeted a video of Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urging people not to panic and wrote “here is how it is done”. The prime minister in the video tells citizens that fear can do more harm than the spreading coronavirus, and highlights the efforts of the government to tackle the epidemic. “There is no need to panic,” he adds. “We are not locking down the city or confining everybody to stay at home. We have ample supplies, so there is no need to stock up with instant noodles, tinned food, or toilet paper, as some people did yesterday.”
The video was released on February 8.
In another tweet, Gandhi said: “There are moments in the life of every nation when its leaders are tested. A true leader would be completely focused on averting the massive crisis about to be unleashed by the virus on India and its economy.”
He also tagged his own February 12 tweet in which he had said the coronavirus is an extremely serious threat to “our people and our economy”.
Modi also appealed for calm on Tuesday and said that people need to work together, and take small but important steps towards self-protection. He said he had conducted an extensive review on measures to tackle the novel coronavirus.
Three new cases of coronavirus were reported in India on Monday. One of the new cases was detected in New Delhi, while the other was in the Telangana. The Delhi patient had been in Italy and the one in Telangana had been Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, the government said, adding that both were stable and being closely monitored. An Italian tourist in Rajasthan initially tested negative for the virus but a second test came out positive.
The coronavirus, which was identified in China late last year, has quickly spread to dozens of countries, killing nearly 3,000 people.