300 Indian Scientists Ask Modi to Release Key Epidemiological Data

The online appeal also requested the Centre to “adequately fund and widen the network of organisations.”

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Indian scientists and medical researchers placed the Narendra Modi government under the spotlight on Friday, 30 April, in an online appeal to share key epidemiological data to allow them to study, predict and curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, reported Bloomberg.

In an online appeal, 300 scientists from research and teaching institutions, including Dr Gagandeep Kang, an esteemed virologist from Vellore and Gautam Menon, professor of biology at Ashoka University, have urgently requested the release of data as the country deals with a rampant second wave.

“The ICMR database is inaccessible to anyone outside of the government and perhaps also to many within the government,” reported Bloomberg quoting the appeal letter.

“While new pandemics can have unpredictable features, our inability to adequately manage the spread of infections has, to a large extent, resulted from epidemiological data not being systematically collected and released in a timely manner to the scientific community,” the letter reportedly added.

In the past, the Modi administration has often faced criticism for its opaque or delayed released of national statistics and data, most recently in the case of denying to have data on how many migrant workers were killed after the country was placed under a nationwide COVID lockdown in late March 2020.

The online appeal also requested the Centre to “adequately fund and widen the network of organisations” to collect large-scale surveillance data.

“Without such data-collection and timely release, we will not be able to efficiently manage COVID-19,” the appeal added.

India on 1 May reported a single-day rise of 4,01,993 fresh COVID cases and 3,523 deaths, according to official figures provided by the Union Health Ministry.

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