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PM Modi rules out lockdown possibility; calls for united effort to combat COVID spate

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi this evening ruled out possibilities of any lockdown in the country if people follow the basic COVID protocols.

Addressing the nation this evening, Modi appealed to the state governments to take to lockdown only as a last resort. “I urge the state government to concentrate on micro containment process to arrest the spread of coronavirus. That will also help them avoid lockdowns,” the prime minister said.

Modi further appealed to the state governments to convince the work force to stay where they are.

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He justified the sudden lockdown last year leading to much hardship to lakhs of people, the prime minister said situation last time was quite different from it is today. “The situation last time was quite different. We were not equipped then. We did not have medicine, PPE kits and even the technical knowhow to deal with the situation. But, today we are equipped to deal with the situation if the people cooperate with discipline and sincerity. We have to overcome this challenge together,” he said.

Modi had announced a nationwide lockdown on March 24 last year leading to an economic slump. Left with no income, lakhs of labourers were forced to walk to their respective homes leading to death of many on their way.

He also appealed to the youth to enforce COVID-19 protocol in their respective societies to ensure that the authorities can avoid containment zone, curfew, lockdown etc. “If the youth form small groups to enforce COVID-19 protocols in their respective societies, there will not be any need for containment zone, curfew etc. Lockdown will be out of question,” he said.

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He further appealed to the children to create a household atmosphere in which no one should venture out unless it’s essential. “The young kids helped me a lot in my past call for cleanliness. I appeal to them this time too to create such an atmosphere at homes that no one ventures out unless it’s essential. And, if people do not loiter around without any reason, the spread of the virus can be easily contained,” Modi said.

About the reported oxygen shortage in many parts of the country, the prime minister reassured that the government was taking all steps on a priority basis to meet the oxygen shortage. “Oxygen demand has been increasing. Steps are being taken to set up new oxygen plants in the states. Steps are being taken to supply lakhs of oxygen cylinders to the new plants. Steps are being taken to convert industrial oxygen to medical oxygen,” he said.

“Besides, medicine production has also increased manifold. Compare to January and February, the production has been increased many times. I’ve personally taken up the task of taking up the matter with pharma sector and had a detailed discussion with the pharmaceutical giants yesterday,” Modi said apparently referring to the reported shortage of Remdesivir injection.

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He said the country’s pharma sector has increased the medicine production as soon as the disease surged this time. Modi also lauded the pharma sector for producing sufficient amount of vaccine and assured that efforts were being made to innoculate everybody.

He also said all states were taking steps to increase the number of beds in hospitals. “In some cities, huge COVID hospitals are being set up to cater to every single patient,” he said.

The prime minister further expressed sympathy with the families who have lost their near and dear ones due to the pandemic latest surge.

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