India ‘warned of new variant’, but it seems polls, religion more ...

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India ‘warned of new variant’, but it seems polls, religion more pressing

Scientists, who alerted government about it in early March, feel dejected after being ‘ignored’ by policymakers

Devjyot Ghoshal and Krishna N Das

A forum of scientific advisers set up by the government warned Indian officials in early March of a new and more contagious variant of the coronavirus taking hold in the country, five scientists who are part of the group said.

Despite the warning, four of them said the government did not seek to impose major restrictions to stop the spread of the virus. Millions of largely unmasked people attended religious festivals and political rallies that were held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition politicians.

Tens of thousands of farmers, meanwhile, continued to camp on the edge of New Delhi protesting Modi’s agricultural policy changes...

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