National Press release
24 December 2022
Sh. Anil Ghanwat, the President of Swatantra Bharat Party today raised concerns about reports that the government of India is once again thinking of border closures and lockdowns.
On 20 December 2022, the secretary of the Health and Family Welfare Department has issued guidelines that refer to an alleged “sudden spurt of cases being witnessed” in some countries – in order to prepare the country to take “requisite public health measures”. Random testing of 2 per cent of international arrivals has been required, which indicates a repeat of the 2020 hysteria is once again brewing. Airports Authority of India now requires 100 per cent testing. At the same time, the Indian Medical Association has issued an advisory on 22 December 2022 referring to an “impending covid outbreak”.
The media is flooded with hysterical articles and claims that the sky is going to fall down, once again. The reputation of experts like Prof. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, who has demonstrated over the past three years that the policy of lockdowns has been extremely harmful to India, is being sullied in the print media without giving these experts a hearing to explain their views.
Analysis by Swatantra Bharat Party’s advisor Sanjeev Sabhlok, an economist and former IAS officer of the 1982 batch, suggests that the harms from India’s lockdowns exceed any benefits by around the thousand times. More damaging is his analysis using the OxCGRT database (from Oxford University) of covid fatalities across the world. The analysis shows that there has been a significant increase in covid deaths in countries which imposed severe lockdowns. As would be expected, Sweden has been one of the countries with the least covid (and non-covid) deaths: being the only country that abjured lockdowns as required by the standard public health literature prior to 2020.
Our party has firmly opposed lockdowns from day one, which have caused unimaginable harm to the poor and children of India. A risk-based approach that minimizes harm to health from all causes, is needed. Current approaches cause extensive harms to a vast number of people while purportedly protecting a few.
Further, the Indian authorities seem incapable of telling us the truth. Professor John Ioannidis of Stanford has confirmed that covid is around 50 to 500 times less lethal than the Spanish flu, but the authorities continue to grossly exaggerate its lethality.
Sh Anil Ghanwat called for an immediate inquiry into the government’s response to covid and demanded that no mandatory provisions, such as lockdowns, be implemented ever again in the future.
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