Lockdown would be last option: PM

Our Bureau. New Delhi | Updated on April 21, 2021

Govt is working with companies to ramp up supply of oxygen: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today assured the nation that a lockdown would be the last resort in the fight against the Covid-19 second wave and urged the States to manage the situation with micro-containment wherever required.

Addressing the nation on Tuesday night, the Prime Minister urged the youth to form small committees and make sure that people follow all Covid-appropriate norms and rules. “If we do, we do not need containment, nor curfew nor lockdown,” Modi said during the televised speech. He also urged children to ensure that people in their homes did not venture out unnecessarily.

He asked State governments to assure migrant workers that with the changes made to the vaccination policy, vaccines would be available to them soon.

“I urge the State administrations to keep the trust of the migrant workers alive, urge them to stay where they are. This trust given by the States will help them a lot that cities in which they live will have a vaccine in the next few days and their work will not stop,” Modi said.

As the pandemic rages, the demand for medical oxygen has shot up across the country and efforts are on to augment supplies. The Centre, the States and the private sector are working together to ensure that every needy person gets the life-saving oxygen supply, he said.

Modi said oxygen plants are being set up in the States, one lakh new cylinders are being delivered, and oxygen used in industrial units is being diverted for medical use.

He said there is a vast difference in the situation between the first and the second wave. At the beginning of the first wave, the country had very little medical infrastructure. However, the situation is different now as scientists and industry worked hard to develop diagnostic/PPE kits, ventilators and vaccines, Modi said.

The Prime Minister, who held a virtual meeting with vaccine manufacturers earlier, urged them to ramp up production. He asked them to help vaccinate the maximum number of people in the shortest possible time.

A Health Ministry statement that followed said the Prime Minister “also assured all possible support and smooth approval process for the vaccine candidates currently under trial phase.”

Simultaneously, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, along with Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and NITI Aayong Member (Health) Vinod K Paul, reviewed the situation in the Union Territories. Paul highlighted the importance of the next three weeks to curb Covid and urged the administrators to plan for this.


Published on April 20, 2021

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