Lockdowns should be last resort: PM

New Delhi, April 20: Amid a staggering surge in COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said a lockdown should be the “last resort” to deal with the raging pandemic and asked states to convince migrant workers to stay put at their places of work with a guarantee for their lives and livelihood.
In an address to the nation, he also called upon all stakeholders, including the pharmaceutical industry, to deal collectively with the immediate challenge of the shortage of oxygen cylinders.
India’s total tally of COVID-19 cases climbed to 1,53,21,089 with 2,59,170 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, while active cases surpassed the 20-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday. The death toll increased to 1,80,530 with a record 1,761 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.
Outlining a number of measures taken by his government, including ramping up of the production and supply of oxygen and medicine for allowing vaccination for everyone above 18 years of age from the next month, Modi said he also empathises with the pain of those having lost their family members. The country is fighting a very big battle against the pandemic, he said, adding that its second wave has hit it like a storm after the condition appeared to have stabilized.
The two key messages of Modi’s over 20 minute-long address was, however, to virtually rule out any immediate nationwide lockdown, a move that had triggered a massive migration of workers from big cities last year and hit the economy hard, and to reach out to migrants. Industry bodies lauded Modi’s address, saying it sends across the right message to everyone about the country’s fight against COVID-19, including to migrant workers, and will help the Indian economy tide over this pandemic. (PTI)

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