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As states opt for stringent Covid curbs, PM says lockdown should be ‘last option’

Even as the latest curbs have sparked a fresh exodus of migrant labourers from cities, PM Modi asked the states to convince the labourers to not leave for their hometown.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 20, 2021 10:45:00 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation on the second wave of coronavirus pandemic across the country, via video conferencing, in New Delhi, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (PTI)

On a day India registered a record 1,761 deaths due to Covid-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation and emphasised that lockdown should be the last resort. He urged the state governments to focus more on micro-containment zones.

“In today’s situation, we have to save the country from lockdown. I would also request the states to use lockdown as the last option. We have to try hard to avoid lockdown and the focus should be on the micro containment zones only,” PM Modi said during his speech, which lasted nearly 20 minutes.

With several states imposing stringent curbs, including night curfews and lockdowns, PM Modi said, “Our aim is to save lives. But the impact on the economy and livelihoods should also be as less as possible.”

“If we all follow COVID-19 protocols, there’ll be no need to impose lockdowns,” he added.

Even as the latest curbs have sparked a fresh exodus of migrant labourers from cities, PM Modi asked the states to convince the labourers to not leave for their hometown while assuring them that they will not be stripped of their livelihood.

Migrant workers queue up for buses at Anand Vihar bus terminal, New Delhi.

Stating that people were suffering in the present situation, the Prime Minister said, “we need to fight it out with all our might”. He also expressed confidence that the coronavirus will be defeated with the combined efforts of the people. “I want to thank our doctors and all our healthcare workers for working non-stop in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

The Prime Minister also called upon the youth to come forward in spreading awareness about the Covid protocols. He said the younger generation should join hands to form small committees in their localities and housing societies to educate people about the necessary measures to be taken to stop the spread of the virus.

“This way we will not need to impose any lockdown or designate vast containment zones,” he said.

Noting that the pharma sector was working relentlessly to meet all COVID-19 challenges, including manufacturing vaccines and their supply, he said the firms have ramped up their production already. Although the shortage of oxygen has come across as a major issue, all the stakeholders were working together to meet this challenge, he said.

Migrant labourers in Delhi head home after announcement of 7-day lockdown in city.

He also pointed out that the situation is distinctly different from last year when the country did not have COVID vaccine or infrastructure to produce PPE kits and other medical equipment.

His address came hours after he appealed to vaccine manufacturers to scale up their production capacity to inoculate all Indians in the shortest possible time. He also assured all possible support and smooth approval process for the vaccine candidates which are currently under trial phase.

According to a statement from the PMO, Modi noted that the government has now allowed vaccination for every adult starting from May 1 as it believes in the ability of vaccine makers.

With PTI inputs

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