Acknowledging that the country is fighting a huge battle, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ruled out imposing a nationwide lockdown amid surging Covid cases. Addressing the nation on Tuesday evening, PM Modi said that the situation this year was different than the last time when the country had little experience of tackling such a pandemic.
PM Modi said states should use lockdown as a 'last resort' and the focus should be on micro-containment zones.
Referring to the shortage of oxygen and medicines being reported by several states, PM Modi said that the pharma sector has increased the production of medicines, adding that several new oxygen plants have been set up in many states and the government is working round the clock to ensure oxygen supply to everyone in need.
PM Modi address to the nation: Top Points
1. The country is waging a big war at the moment. The second Covid wave has hit us like a storm. But we have to get past this.
2. I want to express my condolences to the families of all those who have lost their close ones.
3. Shortage of oxygen cylinders has come across as a major problem. All stakeholders working collectively to meet this challenge. The government has taken several steps to enhance oxygen supply capability. New oxygen plants are being set up in several states. The government is working to meet the oxygen demand.
4. India has a strong pharma sector that is working to meet the demand in the present situation. India is currently carrying out the world's biggest vaccination drive with two Made in India vaccines. The pharma sector is working hard to increase medicine manufacturing.
5. I appeal to state governments to convince labourers, workers to stay wherever they are and not leave (to their home states). The government will look after them and also start vaccination for them.
6. I appeal to states to use lockdown as the last resort and focus on micro-containment zones.
PM Modi has been holding a series of meetings since last couple of days amid a surge in coronavirus cases across the country. Several states have been sending SOS messages to the Centre regarding shortage of hospital beds, oxygen and medicines.
The prime minister held a meeting with top doctors and health experts on Monday. During the virtual interaction, PM Modi stressed that vaccine is the biggest weapon available now against the Covid infection.
Shortly after the meeting, the Centre allowed vaccination for all above the age of 18 from May 1.
Under the "liberalised and accelerated Phase 3 strategy of COVID-19 vaccination" that would come in effect from May 1, inoculation will continue free of cost to the eligible population.