'Coronavirus carriers may still be coming in...': Shashi Tharoor advocates for adjournment as Parliament begins thermal scans
Photo: ANI

With the novel coronavirus pandemic spreading to every continent save Antarctica, infecting nearly 200,000 people and killing 7,900 people globally, this might be a good time to practice social distancing.

In India, three people who had tested positive for the virus have passed away. The total number of cases rose to 147 on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Lok Sabha MP and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor took to Twitter to comment on the irony of Parliamentarians who "exhort their constituents to take necessary precautions" against the virus then go on to attend the Budget Session. There, Tharoor said, "they sit cheek-by-jowl on narrow benches" -- a far cry from the social distancing measures being advocated by the government.

The Parliament on Wednesday began conducting thermal scans for those entering the premises. Vice President of India and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, took to Twitter to post a picture of himself undergoing the thermal scan upon arrival at the Parliament.

Tharoor however was was not impressed. with the measures taken so far.

Calling for an adjournment, he said that fever as a symptom of the novel coronavirus "only starts on Day 3".

"Carriers may still be coming in," he warned.

But it would seem that social distancing is not an issue in just the parliament. President Kovind on Wednesday morning hosted Members of Parliament from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan for breakfast at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

This prompted many on the internet to wonder why social distancing was not being enforced by the government.

"After all the messaging that the govt has done about #SocialDistancing , our President @rashtrapatibhvn has a breakfast party," wrote one user.

"Why are you still doing these mass meetings? Please set an example!" wrote another.

But how useful is thermal testing anyway?

While it is a simple way to weed out any person with a fever from amongst the general populace, It must be kept in mind that not everyone who has been infected by the virus shows symptoms.

According to a recent CNN report, new studies suggest that a large part of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States may have been started by people who had, at the time, not shown any symptoms.

Inversely, not everyone with a higher than normal body temperature has been infected by the virus.

Earlier in March, AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Sanjay Singh, had called for the Parliament to be sanitised and sought the installation of thermal scanners.

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