COVID: PM Modi Urges States to Avoid Lockdown in National Address
PM Modi’s address came amid a sharp surge in COVID-19 cases.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, 20 April, requested the various state governments to implement lockdowns only as a last-resort measure, as he addressed the nation amid a deadly second wave of COVID-19.
"States have to try to avoid lockdowns as much as possible and the focus needs to be on effective micro-containment zones," PM Modi said in a 20-minute televised address to the nation at 8:45 pm.
PM Modi started his address by expressing his sympathies to the people who have lost a dear one to COVID-19, while acknowledging that the country is facing a second wave of COVID-19.
“We should not lose our patience, the challenge is big,” he said.
“I appreciate the effort of all our healthcare workers and frontline staff,” the Prime Minister added.
In his address, PM Modi requested citizens to continue to observe protocol and exercise caution. He appealed to the youth to help enforce COVID-19 appropriate behaviour in their societies and communities.
He reminded people that if we follow the COVID-19 protocols, lockdown will not be needed.
Oxygen Shortage and Manufacture
On the shortage of oxygen, PM Modi said that the government is ensuring the availability of medical oxygen. To increase oxygen production and supply, there are many steps being taken, he added.
“The decisions and steps taken in recent days will improve the COVID-19 situation.” There should be new oxygen plants in the states, one lakh new cylinders should be delivered, oxygen used in industrial units should be used for medical purposes and be sent via rail. Every effort is being made,” the PM said.
PM Modi reminded people about the two vaccines produced in India and said that the country has started the world's largest vaccination programme. He lauded the efforts of the scientists, saying that they have developed vaccines for the countrymen in a very short time working day and night.
He said that till now, more than 12 crore vaccine doses have been administered and from 1 May, those above the age of 18 years can be vaccinated as well.
“Today, the cheapest vaccine in the world is in India. We have a vaccine suited to India's cold chain system,” he said.
"Our scientists have made vaccines in a record time, burning the midnight oil. Vaccines' approval and regulatory processes were fast-tracked. However, following due process, our emphasis was to supply vaccines to those who need it most," PM said.
‘Migrants Should Not Move Back’
He requested the states to reassure migrant workers that the situation will improve and they should not move back to their hometowns.
“Our effort is to save lives. But the impact on economic activities and livelihoods should also be as less as possible,” he said.
“State governments should assure migrant workers that they will receive vaccination and work will resume soon. This trust given by the states will help them,” he added.
States like Maharashtra and New Delhi have announced localised lockdowns as they attempt to curb rising cases and prepare themselves for the increasing cases. Some other states have imposed lockdowns in some districts and cities.
PM Modi, earlier on Tuesday evening, held a meeting with vaccine manufacturers via video conferencing, asking them to scale up production capacity to vaccinate all Indian citizens in the shortest time possible.
On Tuesday, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases climbed to 1,53,21,089 with 2,59,170 new coronavirus infections being reported in the last 24 hours, while active cases surpassed the 20-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data.
The death toll also shot up to 1,80,530 with a record 1,761 daily new fatalities, the data on Tuesday morning showed.
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