We Have to Save Country From Lockdowns, They Should Be Last Resort: PM Modi's Plea to States

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India is again confronted with a big challenge as Covid-19 cases see a rapid surge, but efforts are on to ensure that economic activities and livelihood are not affected in the fight against the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday, underlining the steps India has taken over the past few weeks to bring down the spiralling infections. In his address to the nation, he appealed to citizens to come forward and help those in need, asked migrant workers not to leave cities in view of temporary restrictions in place, and stressed that India's scientific community had a better understanding of the disease this time around and was more equipped to fight the pandemic. Modi said the people were undergoing suffering but “we need to fight it out with all our might” and expressed confidence that the coronavirus will be defeated with the combined efforts of the people. Modi also asked people not to venture out and exercise extreme caution in these difficult times. "We have to save the country from lockdowns. I will appeal to states to consider lockdown as the last option and instead focus on micro-containment zones," he said. “I urge the youth to help in ensuring that COVID norms are followed. I am sure if we work together we will not have to worry about setting up containment zones,” he added. "Our effort is to keep the disruption to a minimum…(on) both social and financial (fronts)," he said, a remark that comes at a time when several states are imposing local restrictions in view of the rising cases. “I want to thank our doctors and all our healthcare workers for working non-stop in this fight against COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. The prime minister said that the shortage of oxygen cylinders has come across as a major problem and said all stakeholders were working collectively to meet this challenge. Hours after meeting vaccine-makers, he said the government's move to allow vaccination for all adults from May 1 will help the working population who have to venture out. He once again reminded the nation about his oft-repeated mantra ‘dawai bhi, kadaai bhi’ (yes to medicines and caution) and said it was required even after receiving the vaccine. The country registered 2,59,170 fresh coronavirus infections on Tuesday and 1,761 fatalities.

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