Lockdown should be last resort: PM

Tells states to check migrant exodus | Nation left to fend for itself, says Cong

Lockdown should be last resort: PM

A doctor pulls an oxygen cylinder at the Covid centre in CWG village, New Delhi, on Tuesday. PTI

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 20

Acknowledging that the second Covid wave had hit the country with fury, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said a lockdown should be the last resort for state governments and urged people to ensure 100 per cent compliance with safety protocols even as the Opposition Congress alleged people had been left on their own.

As India logged over 2.50 lakh daily cases for the third day in a row, the Prime Minister sought the help of children to enforce Covid-appropriate behaviour, urging them to make sure that family members did not step out of homes without reason or need. He asked the states to convince migrant workers to stay put at their places of work with a guarantee for their lives and livelihood.

“In today’s situation, we have to save the country from a lockdown. If we follow Covid discipline, states will not need to set up containment zones or impose curfews and lockdown will be out of the question. I also urge the states to use lockdowns as the last resort.

We have to try our level best to save ourselves from a lockdown and focus on micro-containment. This way we can improve the health of our economy as well as the people,” the PM said, ruling out a national lockdown for now.

He invoked Lord Rama and the spirit of Ramzan to urge people for self-restraint. “Today is the last day of Navratri. Tomorrow is Ram Navami and Lord Rama’s message to us is to follow discipline. Today is also the seventh day of the auspicious month of Ramzan, which teaches us patience, self-restraint and discipline. To win the war against Covid, discipline is necessary. Leave homes only when absolutely necessary,” he said.

Appealing to the youth to form committees for enforcement of Covid discipline, the PM assured work on war-footing to ease oxygen supplies, raise the production of medicines and ramp up hospital bed capacities, while urging individuals to help those in need in this time of grave crisis.

“We have to ease the panic, dispel myths and fears,” the PM noted. He hailed India’s ability to become the fastest country in the world to administer over 12 crore vaccine doses and said from May 1, all adults would be eligible for inoculation.

Taking a jibe at the PM after his address to the nation, the first during the second Covid wave, Congress media chief Randeep Surjewala said, “The sum and substance of what the PM said today was—people are on their own.”

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