Rahul Gandhi, a key opposition leader in India, has slammed the Narendra Modi-led government after UNICEF released a report which highlights the impact of COVID-19 on children and mothers’ health in the country.  

Citing the report, which indicates that India could witness a record rise in child mortality and maternal deaths, Congress party politician Rahul Gandhi tweeted that an “unplanned lockdown disaster continues to haunt the country.”

The nationwide lockdown started on 25 March in India and was relaxed gradually over the course of several months.  

​According to the report – titled “The Direct and Indirect Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic and Response in South Asia” and commissioned by UNICEF’s Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) – India is likely to register the greatest increase in deaths among children below five years old, and also the highest number of maternal deaths, among six South Asian countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka – in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The report indicates the impact of COVID-19 on hospitalisations, mortality, and ICU admissions due to the disease and impact of the lockdown on maternal and child mortality, education, and the region’s economy.