The Indian government was accused of ignoring Covid-19 warnings 5The Indian government was accused of ignoring Covid-19 warnings 5

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium, or INSACOG, is a scientific advisory group established by the government last December to detect nCoV variants that could threaten public health.

INSACOG researchers first detected B.1.617, now known as the Indian variant of the virus, in early February, said Ajay Parida, director of the state-run Institute of Life Sciences and an INSACOG member.

INSACOG shared its findings with the Ministry of Health’s National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) before March 10, warning that cases could quickly increase in parts of the country, said its unnamed director.

At the same time, INSACOG began preparing a draft media release for the Ministry of Health, stating that the new variant has two significant mutations in the part of the virus that attaches to human cells and accounts for 15%-20%.

The draft says the mutations, known as E484Q and L452R, are of `major concern`.

Relatives wearing protective gear pray before the body of a Covid-19 victim buried at a cemetery in New Delhi, India on April 30.

The Ministry of Health published the findings on March 24, but did not include the phrase `major concern`.

Asked why the government did not respond more strongly to the findings, such as limiting large gatherings, Shahid Jameel, chairman of INSACOG’s scientific advisory group, said he was concerned that authorities were not paying attention.

`Policy must be based on evidence, not the other way around,` he said.

Despite warnings, the government did not seek to impose restrictions to prevent a major outbreak.

The anonymous director said the warning was conveyed to Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, who reports directly to the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Modi’s office and Minister Gauba have not commented on the above information.

The world’s second-most populous country is struggling to contain a Covid-19 wave much more severe than the first last year, which some scientists say may be caused by new variants and a new mutation.

The outbreak is India’s biggest crisis since Modi took office in 2014. It was unclear how the handling of the pandemic might affect Modi or his party politically.

Some scientists say the responsibility lies not only with the political leadership.

NCDC Director Sujeet Kumar Singh recently said that stricter lockdown measures should be in place by early April. `According to us, the exact time to impose a stricter lockdown is 15 days ago,` Singh said in

`It was emphasized that unless drastic measures are taken now, it will be too late to prevent the mortality that we will see,` Singh said, referring to the April 18 meeting.

Some government officials at the meeting worried that mid-sized cities could face law and order problems as essential medical supplies such as oxygen run out, a scenario that has begun to happen in many

Last week, the government’s Covid-19 task force, comprising 21 experts and officials chaired by VK Paul, Modi’s top Covid-19 adviser, expressed the need for urgent action.

Paul was present at the discussion.

Two days after Singh’s April 18 warning to government officials, Modi addressed the nation, opposing the lockdown.

India’s state governments have broader powers to set health policy for their regions, and some have acted independently to try to control the spread of the virus.

Maharashtra, the country’s second most populous state, imposed tough restrictions such as closing offices and shops in early April as hospitals ran out of beds, oxygen and medicine.

Punjab state, the epicenter of farmer protests, imposed a travel ban from March 23.

`It’s a ticking time bomb,` said Agrawal, director of the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, which studied some samples from Punjab.

`We are in a very serious situation. People listen to politicians more than scientists,` said Shanta Dutta, a medical research scientist at the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases.

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