Fury as politician says Covid ‘has a right to live like the rest of us’

We shouldn’t be trying to wipe out coronavirus, because Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, “has a right to live”, says a senior Indian politician.

"Seen from a philosophical angle, coronavirus is also a living organism,” says Trivendra Singh Rawat, until recently chief minister of Uttarakhand province in northern India.

“It has the right to live like the rest of us,” he added. “But we think ourselves to be the most intelligent and are out to eliminate it. So it is constantly mutating itself," he told a private news channel.

Most biologists don’t classify viruses as true life. Viruses are not made out of cells, they don’t grow, and they can’t produce their own energy.

But Mr Rawat seems sure that the virus is alive, and the answer to India’s deadly pandemic is running away from it: “We now have to keep our distance from (the virus),” he said in a widely-circulated clip.

“It is also moving and we are also moving, but we have to move faster than it so that it gets left behind”.

Rival politicians were dismissive of Rawat’s opinion. Uttarakhand Congress vice president Suryakant Dhasmana said: “What Rawat, who was the state’s (chief minister), has said, is nothing but foolish and nonsense.

“He has lost his mind and has no vision because of which he was replaced abruptly by his party.”

Referring to a series of legendary Hindu demons, Mr Dhasmana went on: “The virus is a living organism, so was Ravana, Kansa and Mahishasura.

“But they all were killed by different gods because they were destroying the world just like this virus which has killed lakhs (thousands).

"Rawat is just uttering sheer nonsense,” he added.

India is currently in the grip of its worst phase of the pandemic, with people desperately trying to source medicines and vital oxygen for loved ones stricken by the virus.

Over 250,000 Indians have died to date, many without receiving the treatment they needed.

The so-called “Indian variant” of the virus is surging dangerously in the UK too.

This new variant “may be more transmissible … maybe even considerably more transmissible,” Boris Johnson told Parliament. “We are looking at all the potential solutions for the surges we're seeing in Bolton and elsewhere," he added.

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