Bharat Jodo Yatra Should Stop if Covid Rules Not Followed: Health Minister Says


Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya raises Covid concerns in Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, which is now in Rajasthan. Mandaviya wrote that if it is impossible to follow Covid safety protocols, the yatra should be stopped.

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya has written to Rahul Gandhi and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot asking them to ensure that proper Covid guidelines are being followed in the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which is now in Rajasthan. If it is not possible to follow the Covid regulations, then the yatra should be stopped keeping in mind the ‘public health emergency’ situation, the health minister’s letter said.

In the letter, the health ministry stressed on the use of masks and santisers in the yatra and that only vaccinated people should participate. The letter comes amid fresh health concerns triggered by the new wave of Covid in China. A similar upward trend in Covid cases has been noticed in Japan, South Korea, Brazil and the US, which prompted the Centre to urge all states and UTs to gear up the whole genome sequencing of the positive cases.

Mandaviya said in his letter to the states on Covid alertness that the focus of the Centre will remain on its earlier five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour. The health ministry will also review the Covid situation in the country today with the secretaries of health and Ayush ministries, the Department of Pharmaceuticals and Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Rajiv Bahl, Member (Health) of NITI Aayog V K Paul and National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) Chairman N L Arora and other senior officials.

The growing Covid concern translating to a possible roadblock for Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra has triggered a political battle with Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury asking whether Covid protocols were followed during PM Modi’s election rallies ahead of the Gujarat assembly election. Adhir Chowdhury stated, “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 the public’s attention”.

Three BJP MPs from Rajasthan flagged concerns over Covid protocols and wrote to Mandaviya, which explains Mandaviya’s letter, apart from the surge in Covid cases in some countries, including China. The MPs have also requested the Union Minister to ensure that participants are isolated before and after participating in the march.

Hundreds of people are joining Bharat Jodo Yatra every day. On September 7, the yatra started from Kanyakumari and crossed Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh. From Rajasthan, the yatra will now enter Haryana, where the first phase of the yatra will conclude.


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