Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation today on the surging COVID-19 cases as India faces a second wave of the pandemic. The PM reassured about the availability of critical medicines and other materials needed to treat the viral infection, and urged state governments to only impose lockdown as a “last resort”, signalling the Central government’s reluctance on imposing lockdowns. “We have to save the country from lockdown”, the PM said.
Addressing the nation on the COVID-19 situation. https://t.co/rmIUo0gkbm— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 20, 2021
“I urge states to use lockdown only as a last resort,” PM Modi said in his address to the nation. He added that the state governments should try their best to avoid lockdown, and focus on micro containment zones instead.
The PM said that the country is fighting a very big war against Coronavirus, as the second wave of the pandemic arrived at the country like a storm while the situation was under control till a few weeks ago. ‘I am fully aware of the pain you have faced, the pain you are facing’, the PM said.
Talking about the challenge faced in many parts of the country in the availability of medical oxygen, the PM said that efforts are being undertaken at various levels to increase the production and supply of oxygen. He informed that initiatives like new oxygen plants in the states, supply of one lakh new cylinders, diverting oxygen used in industrial units for medical use, oxygen rail etc are being undertaken to address the issue.
He said that scientists in the country have developed two vaccines in a very short time by working day and night. India has the cheapest vaccines in the world, and we have vaccines compatible with the cold chain system of the country, the PM said. He further said that India was able to start the world’s largest vaccination program using two made in India vaccines with the help of a team effort, and India was the fastest to administer 10 crore, 11 crore and now 12 crore doses of vaccine.
PM Modi further added that from May 1 onwards, any person over the age of 18 is eligible to get the Coronavirus vaccine. The PM hailed this expansion in the vaccination drive, remarking that half of India’s vaccine production will be handed out to the state governments in order to strengthen the immunization efforts.
The PM also spoke about migrant workers, requesting the state governments to sustain the confidence of migrant workers, and cautioning them to stay where they are, so as to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus in the country.
PM Modi also recognized the role of the private sector in India’s war against COVID-19, pushing for a more proactive relationship in face of the upcoming mass vaccination drive.