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'Only those vaccinated can attend Bharat Jodo Yatra': Health minister asks Rahul Gandhi to follow COVID guidelines

healthcare | Dec 21, 2022 10:20 AM IST

'Only those vaccinated can attend Bharat Jodo Yatra': Health minister asks Rahul Gandhi to follow COVID guidelines

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The health minister's guidelines comes in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases in other countries such as China, Japan and South Korea.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya wrote to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot saying that COVID-19 guidelines must be strictly followed during the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra. The health minister also said only vaccinated people must participate in the event and that they should masks and sanitisers.

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"In case it is not possible to follow the guidelines, then keeping in view the Public Health Emergency and to protect the nation from the COVID pandemic, I request you to halt the Bharat Jodo Yatra in the public interest," Mandaviya said in the letter.
Responding to the letter, Gehlot said, "Upset with the rising public support for Bharat Jodo Yatra, the BJP's aim is to disturb it. No COVID protocols were followed when PM did a rally in Tripura two days back...If Union health minister has a valid concern and not a political aim, he should first write to PM."
The health minister's statement comes in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases in neighbouring countries. On Tuesday, the health ministry urged all states and Union territories to ramp up the whole genome sequencing of positive samples to keep track of newer variants. Moreover, Mandaviya is all set to review the pandemic situation on Wednesday.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi concluded its Rajasthan leg on Tuesday evening after covering a distance of nearly 485 km in 15 days in the party-ruled state.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra yatra, a mass contact initiative of the Congress, started from Kanyakumari on September 7 and covered Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh before entering Rajasthan on December 4 evening.
As the letter by the health minister came to light, Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said he wants to ask the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) "did PM (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi follow COVID protocols during Gujarat polls?"
"I think Mansukh Mandaviya is not liking Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra but people are liking it and joining it. Mandaviya has been deputed to divert public's attention," Chowdhury said.
Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Dola Sen said the Centre could've issued an advisory over COVID-19 pandemic. "We're at Parliament but no circular came for wearing masks or taking preventive measures. It is not the sole duty of the Centre to boss over state governments. Their responsibility is towards public in which they fail. We don't expect much from them."
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