20 Apr 2021: Coronavirus: We need to save India from lockdown, says Modi
As India witnesses a brutal second wave of COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday addressed the nation.
During his 20-minute-long address, Modi urged the nation to continue strict compliance with COVID-19 appropriate behavior and asked state governments to enforce a lockdown only as a last resort.
India is now reporting more infections than any other country in the world.
Details: Modi extends condolences to those who died of COVID-19
Addressing the nation, Modi said, "Once again, we have been hit by a wave of COVID-19 like a storm...I completely understand the pain you're feeling."
The PM extended condolences to those who died of COVID-19. Notably, India saw its deadliest day, reporting 1,761 fresh fatalities on Tuesday morning. The cumulative death toll has risen to 1,80,530.
Health: Modi praises healthcare, frontline workers
Modi praised the efforts of doctors, medical and paramedical staff, cleaning staff, drivers, security staff, police personnel, who have been at the frontline in the fight against COVID-19.
"The situation today is very different from last year when we did not have COVID-specific infrastructure. You must recall, there were no testing labs, no PPEs, no information on how to treat this disease," he said.
New measures: Efforts on to increase oxygen production: Modi
"The steps we have taken in the past few days will help improve the situation," Modi said, adding that new hospitals are being set up in some states.
Efforts are on to increase oxygen production and supply and the pharma sector has increased the production of medicines, he added. "Besides expediting vaccine approvals and regulatory processes, all scientific and regulatory help has been extended."
Vaccine: 'India launched the world's largest vaccination drive'
Modi went on to add, "It's because of such efforts that India launched the world's largest vaccination drive with two Made In India vaccines."
"After May 1, anyone above the age of 18 can get vaccinated," Modi said, detailing the new vaccination policy announced on Monday. "Free vaccines will continue to be available at government hospitals."
Migrant workers: Ensure migrant workers stay where they are: Modi to states
Modi said, "All our efforts are aimed at saving lives. We're also trying to ensure that economic activities and livelihoods are not greatly affected."
Modi asked state governments to ensure that migrant workers stay where they are and do not start traveling to their native places.
"Wherever they are, they will get vaccinated soon and their work will also continue," Modi said.
Quote: Modi praises individuals, groups extending help to others
Modi said, "We have fought this battle against COVID-19 with great determination and patience so far. The credit goes to every citizen. With the public's support, we will defeat COVID-19."
"Today, we are seeing how individuals and social organizations are working day and night to help those in need, be it help with medicines, accommodation, food, etc. I salute their efforts," he added.
Behavior: Modi asks youth to form neighborhood committees
Further, Modi asked the youth to form committees in their neighborhoods and ensure compliance with COVID-19 appropriate behavior.
"If you do this, we will never need to declare containment zones, curfews, and a lockdown would be completely out of the question," he said. "We need to save India from a lockdown. I urge state governments to only enforce lockdowns as a last resort."
Fact: 'Must remain focused on micro-containment zones'
"We must remain focused on micro-containment zones. This way, we will improve the health of our economy as well as our citizens," he said. "I assure you that—through your courage, discipline, and patience—the nation will try its best to change our current situation."