As the country continues to battle the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday addressed the nation on the current situation. In his speech, he urged states to make all efforts to avoid lockdowns and use it as the last resort.
"We have to protect the nation from lockdown. I urge states to treat lockdown as the last resort. We need to focus on micro-containment zones," the Prime Minister said.
He also urged youngsters to form small committees in societies and apartments and help in ensuring adherence to COVID-19 protocols. "If we do this, the governments will not need to form either containment zones or enforce curfews or lockdowns," Modi said.
The governments are focused not only on saving lives but also on ensuring minimum impact on economic activities and livelihood of people, he said. Referring to the Centre's decision to open COVID-19 vaccination for all citizens above 18 years of age from May 1, Modi said it will help in vaccinating the workforce in cities.
He also urged states to ask workers to stay wherever they are and assure them that they would get vaccinated in the next few days which will ensure that their livelihood is not impacted.
Saying that India has ramped up its medical infrastructure within a short time to handle the pandemic, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that the country will be able to win the battle against the virus.
Referring to the shortage of medical oxygen, Modi said Centre, state governments as well as private sector are working together to increase the availability of oxygen. "Whether it is setting up new plants, providing 1 lakh new cylinders, diverting industrial oxygen for medical purposes or running oxygen rail, every attempt is being made," he said.
Earlier today, the Prime Minister also held a meeting with vaccine manufacturers from across the country and applauded their role during the pandemic. He urged them to continuously scale up their production capacity to vaccinate Indians in the shortest possible time and appreciated the efforts and studies being conducted by the scientists in development of new vaccines.
He also assured all possible support and smooth approval process for the vaccine candidates which are currently under trial phase, a release said. The Prime Minister said that the private sector will play an active role in the country's vaccination drive, which would require better coordination between hospitals and industry.
India reported 2,59,170 new COVID-19 cases and 1,761 deaths due to the disease in the preceding 24 hours as of Tuesday morning.