INDIA. Mumbai: State governments should treat lockdown only as a measure of the last resort and we have to concentrate on micro containment zones to save our economic activities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing the nation on the COVID-19 situation on Tuesday night.
Modi, who touched upon different issues focussed on: the country should face the second wave of coronavirus bravely, the government is working with speed and sensitivity to meet the increasing demand for oxygen and the pharmaceutical companies have already increased their production of medicines and are in the process of increasing it further.
The vaccine made available by the government is the cheapest in the world, the government hospitals will continue to provide free vaccination to the people and after 1st May, every person above 18 years can be vaccinated, the vaccine will be available quickly for the workforce in the cities and half of the vaccine produced in India will go directly to the states and hospitals. By now nearly 12 crore people have been vaccinated. Earlier we lacked infrastructure. However now the country has sufficient stock of the PPE kits, masks and related material and the country has a good lab network and the number of tests has gone up, Modi said.
Along with saving lives, the effort is to save the economic activities and ensure the minimum adverse impact on the livelihood of the people. As such the state governments should boost the confidence of the labourers and convince them to stay wherever they are. This confidence by the states will greatly help them. They will get the vaccine wherever they are and their work will also not suffer, he added.
He said that the centre, state governments, and the private sector are trying to ensure that every needy person gets oxygen. Efforts to increase oxygen production and supply are on at various levels. Measures like installing new oxygen plants, providing one lakh new cylinders, diverting oxygen from industrial use and Oxygen Rail are being undertaken.
The Prime Minister said that our scientists came out with the vaccine in a very short time and today India has the cheapest vaccine in the world which is compatible with the cold chain available in the country. Due to this team effort, India has embarked upon the world’s largest vaccination drive with two ‘made in India’ vaccines. From the very first phase of the vaccination drive, it has been emphasized that the vaccine reaches the maximum areas and to the people who need it.
Modi said that we have much better knowledge and resources to meet the challenge than the initial days of the first wave. He credited the people of India for a good and patient fight. With people’s participation, we will be able to defeat this wave of Corona too. He saluted the contribution of social organizations who are helping the people in the time of need and called upon everyone to move forward to help the people who require help.
He offered condolences for the lives lost to the pandemic in recent times. “I am with you in this time of grief as a family member. The challenge is huge, we have to overcome it collectively with determination, courage, and preparation” he said. He also paid tribute to the doctors, medical staff, paramedical staff, sanitation workers, ambulance drivers, security forces, and police force for their contribution to the fight against Corona.
The Prime Minister called upon the youth to help in maintaining COVID-19 appropriate behaviour in their areas and neighbourhood. This will help in avoiding containment zones, curfews, or lockdowns. He also asked children to create an atmosphere where their family members avoid going out unnecessarily. If need be local committees can be formed by people to urge fellow beings to observe COVID-19 prevention norms. Only people can avoid lockdowns, he added.
India on Tuesday reported 2,59,170 new cases, 1,761 deaths and 1,54,761 discharges as per Union Health Ministry. The number of cases in some of the states on Tuesday: Delhi reported 28,385 new cases, 277 deaths and 19439 discharges with active case load at 85,575. Chhattisgarh reported 15,625 new cases, 15,830 discharges, and 181 deaths. Gujarat reported 12,206 new cases, the highest single-day count so far, while 121 patients succumbed to the infection. Bihar recorded 10,455 new cases, taking the tally to 3,42,059.
Delhi government has already imposed a complete lockdown till April 26, in the wake of a record rise in COVID-19 cases. Telangana imposed night curfew on Tuesday. The Uttar Pradesh has decided to impose weekend lockdown in the state from Friday 8 PM.
In the meanwhile Maharashtra recorded 62,097 new cases and 519 deaths, taking a case tally to 39,60,359 and death toll to 61,343. All the same, there have been 54,224 recoveries on Tuesday.
Given the alarming rise in active cases and the shortage of oxygen to treat the patients, the Maharashtra Government is planning to enforce a total lockdown for 15 days from Wednesday night, with timings of grocery shops, vegetables, fruits restricted to just four hours a day, from 7 am to 11 am. The public transport including railways and buses will be restricted only for essential services. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is expected to announce the lockdown on Wednesday.