Record covid surge: PM Modi says fight is to save country from complete lockdown

New Delhi: As the country grapples with a worrying second wave of Covid-19 infections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to states that lockdowns should be the last option. In an address to the nation late Tuesday evening, the PM said economic activity and livelihood must remain least impacted. His call for patience during the crisis period came in the backdrop of several states rushing to announce curfews and severe restrictions in different ways.

“We have to save the country from lockdown..States should focus on micro-containment zones,” Modi said.

The PM asked state governments to urge migrant workers to stay where they are and give them confidence that they wouldn’t lose their income and livelihood. He also gave an assurance that with vaccination opening up for those above 18 years of age from May 1, workforce in cities would be able to get the shot.
He said that if people followed Covid appropriate behavior, there would be no need for police enforcement or a lockdown.
The experience of the ongoing second wave was vastly different from the first one, Modi said. The country did not have adequate testing labs, PPE manufacturing abilities or adequate information to treat Covid patients earlier, he elaborated.

He said the second wave had hit India like a storm and the challenge ahead was big. “We are in a big battle…We have to overcome this difficult situation with courage, resolve and preparation.”
He also assured that efforts were being made at all levels to ramp up the production of oxygen in the country since the demand had gone up. “We are sensitive to the issue and working to resolve it. All in need should get oxygen.”

Chairing a high-level meeting to review oxygen supply across the country, Modi asked the state governments to act against any hoarding of oxygen and directed officials to ensure that the oxygen supply to various states happens in a smooth, unhindered manner, PTI reported. He also called for fixing responsibility with the local administration in cases of obstruction of supply.

Modi lauded the medical staff and frontline workers for putting their lives at risk to save others day and night. He also appreciated the efforts of NGOs and social workers to help those in need by providing food and medicines.
Reeling under a brutal second wave, India reported over 3 lakh new cases on April 21 — the biggest daily spike for any country since the start of the pandemic. 

India has so far administered more than 130 million doses but the drive has been restricted to health workers, frontline staff, those above the age of 45 and anyone with comorbidities.

From 1 May, people above 18 will also be eligible for the vaccine. 

On Thursday, Pfizer announced it was in ongoing discussions with the Indian government to supply its Covid-19 vaccine to the country at a not-for-profit price.

Image courtesy of (Image courtesy: PTI)

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