'Lockdown should be last resort': PM Modi urges states in address to nation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday addressed the nation, amid a steep rise in the country's daily cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), remarking that there was a need to prevent the country from entering another lockdown.
"I urge states to use lockdown only as a last resort," PM Modi said, adding that they should try their best to avoid lockdown, and focus on micro containment zones instead. He also urged people to come forward in this hour of crisis to help those in need, expressing appreciation for NGOs already working in this regard.
Calling the second wave of Covid-19 a "storm," PM Modi said that he was fully aware of what people are passing through. Expressing condolences on behalf of the nation to those who have lost their loved ones, he called the pandemic a big "challenge," which can be defeated with determination, courage and preparation.
Prime Minister Modi also said that one shouldn't lose patience no matter what the situation is and remarked that the steps announced in the last few days will help in improving the situation. On the issue of oxygen supply, he said that the Centre, state governments and private sectors are making sure that oxygen is supplied to everyone who needs it.
India has the world's cheapest vaccine against Covid-19, he further said. On the Central government's decision to open vaccination for everyone above the age of 18 from May 1, the Prime Minister said that this will ensure rapid vaccination for the urban workforce. "I appeal my young friends to form committees in their colonies and apartments to ensure Covid-19 appropriate behaviour as this would help state government avoid establishing containment zones or impose curfews and there would be no question of a lockdown," PM Modi announced.
PM Modi's address, at 8:45pm on Tuesday, came on a day India witnessed its sixth straight rise of more than 200,000 new Covid-19 cases, since topping the mark for the first time on April 15, as 259,170 fresh infections were detected across the country in the previous 24 hours, as per the Union ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) on Tuesday morning. There were 1,761 deaths as well, the highest in a single-day. The infection tally currently stands at 15,321,089 including more than 13 million recoveries, over two million active cases and 180,530 deaths.