Lockdown should be last resort, efforts on to ensure oxygen supply: PM Modi in address to nation on COVID

Lockdown should only be the last resort in the fight against the second wave of COVID-19 that is wreaking havoc in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said. In an unusual televised address to the nation on Tuesday evening, Modi said there is no need of a lockdown “if we are careful”.

“I urge the states to consider lockdowns only as the last option and focus creating on micro containment zones,” he said.

The country is again faced with a big battle against COVID-19 and conditions will improve with the decisions taken in recent days, Modi said.

Modi noted that pharma sector was working relentlessly to meet all COVID-19 challenges, including on vaccine development and supply.

“The demand for oxygen has increased in many parts of the country. The Centre, state governments and private sector are trying to make oxygen available to all those who are in need of it. Many steps are being taken in this direction,” he said.

He said works were on to increase the number of beds in hospitals and in some cities, large COVID-19 hospitals are being built.

“India has started the world's largest vaccination programme with two 'made in India' vaccines. Till now, more than 12 crore vaccine doses have been administered. From 1st May, those above the age of 18 years can be vaccinated. I request state governments to urge the workers to stay where they are. This trust given by the states to the workers will help them, and that they will be vaccinated in the city where they are,” he said.

The situation is different from last year when there was no COVID vaccine in the country or infrastructure to produce PPE kits and other much-needed medical goods, he noted.

He requested the youth to make small committees to ensure Covid guidelines are followed. “If this happens, government will not have to impose curbs, night curfew and question of lockdown will not arise," he said.

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