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Use lockdown only as absolute last resort: PM Modi tells States

Screengrab from PM Narendra Modi's speech to the nation on Tuesday, April 20, 2021  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged States to only resort to lockdown as an absolute last resort and said that were everyone to observe COVID appropriate behaviour, there would be no need for stringent reactions.

“We have to save ourselves from a lockdown and do our best to avoid it and I request States to pay more attention to effectively managing micro containment zones,” Mr. Modi said in his 20 minute address to the nation. that was unexpectedly announced with a 45 minute notice. “Were we to observe COVID-appropriate behaviour with collective enforcement then we wouldn't need curfews and containment zones. Then, a lockdown would simply be out of the question.”

In his first address to the nation this year, Mr Modi said the government’s decision to make vaccines more widely available would translate to affordable vaccines for all adults. “I would appeal to workplaces to use this as an opportunity to vaccinate their workforce so that nobody would have to move and leave the cities and their places of work,” he said.

The Prime Minister alluded to the prevailing oxygen supply crisis and said Indian industry as well as its transport sector was working hard to ensure that it was available as quickly as possible in places needed.

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He said that the second wave was a major challenge but with collective enterprise the country could overcome the challenges it posed.

Referring to the ongoing month of Ramzan as well the festival of Ram Navmi, Mr. Modi said just as these occasions were reminders to be compassionate, restrained and exhibit self control, in the same way it was imperative on everyone to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.

He appealed to children to ensure that elders do not step out without cause.

Unlike a year ago when the pandemic hit and India had inadequate testing kits, PPE suits, and little understanding of how it could be managed, there was much more knowledge now, Mr Modi said. He added that youth in residential areas should form committees to enforce appropriate covid behaviour discipline.

On Tuesday evening, Mr. Modi interacted with vaccine manufacturers from across the country via video conferencing. He applauded the vaccine manufacturers for their achievements and professionalism. he also said that the biggest strengths of our vaccine industry are its ‘Samarthya, Sansadhan and Seva Bhaav’, and these are what makes them a vaccine leader in the world

On Monday, with over new 270,000 cases being added everyday — the most in the world — and hospital facilities in several States strained, the government said all adults would be eligible for a vaccine from May 1. Several States had imposed weekend and days-long lockdowns in an attempt to halt the transmission of the virus and ease the burden on healthcare.

Half the approved vaccines could be bought by states by directly negotiating with vaccine companies. The Centre would however continue its ongoing free vaccination programme of healthcare workers, frontline workers, the old and those over 45.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 3:34:04 AM |

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