New Delhi, September 16: Addressing a media briefing on the prevailing Covid situation in the country, the Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Balram Bhargava, on Thursday termed the recent New York Times article on India's Covid response as "provocative" and "attention-seeking".

The article published in New York Times had claimed that the "ICMR tailored its findings to fit Prime Minister Narendra Modi's optimistic narrative despite a looming crisis".

Responding to a question, Bhargava said, "This is a provocative and attention-seeking article published at a time when India is doing good and our vaccination drive is also excellent. It is aimed at diverting attention. All the issues raised are dead ones and probably do not merit any attention." COVID-19 Positive Pregnant Women Need Immediate Medical Attention: ICMR Study.

"We greatly value journalistic and editorial freedom. But at the same time we must also realise that all of us, including the Union government and the state governments, are fully engaged in fighting the pandemic and all our energy and time is devoted to that," said Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan.

"We cannot afford to get diverted by things that can be addressed at a later date, or which are not a priority from the public health point of view," Bhushan added.

Condemning the article, NITI Aayog Member (Health), V.K. Paul, said, "We condemn such distorted and out of context reporting. This is not desirable."

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 16, 2021 11:25 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website