New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged the states to avoid imposing lockdowns and rather focus on creating micro containment zones to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

Addressing the nation amid the frightening spurt in COVID-19 cases across the country, PM Modi said that if the COVID-19 protocols are diligently followed by all, there will be no need to impose any lockdowns.

The prime minister assured availability of oxygen availability to all and said that the government was making all efforts to make sure that the vaccine all nooks and corners of the country. 

"India with two 'made in India' vaccines started the world's largest vaccination program. Till now, more than 12 crore vaccine doses have been administered. From 1st May, those above the age of 18 years can be vaccinated," said PM Modi.

He also called upon the yough of the country to form small committees and help in Covid administration in their areas. "If that happens, the govt will not have to put containment zones or lockdowns," said PM Modi in his address. 

Speaking on the issue of crisis of oxygen at hospitals in several states, PM Modi said that the shortage of oxygen cylinders has emerged as a major issue and all the stakeholders are working collectively to meet this challenge. 

"The demand for oxygen has increased in many parts of the country. The Centre, state govt, private sector are trying to make oxygen available to all those who are in need of it. Many steps are being taken in this direction," he said.

Notably, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday pulled up the Centre over the acute shortage of oxygen in the hospitals, saying that economic interests can not override human lives and suggested some reduction in steel and petroleum production to divert oxygen to COVID-19 patients.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Centre "with folded hands" to provide medical oxygen to Delhi, saying some hospitals are going to run out of it in a few hours.

The prime minister also said that pharmaceutical companies have ramped the production of medicines to meet the increasing demand across the country. "Compared to January-February this year, the production is already high and is further being increased," he said.

Amid the migrants moving back to their hometowns in wake of some states announcing lockdowns, PM Modi asked state government to keep trust of migrant workers alive and urge them to stay where they are. "States must tell migrant workers they will be vaccinated in next few days and their job will remain with them," he said. 

The situation is different from last year when there was no COVID vaccine in the country or infrastructure to produce PPE kits and other much-needed medical goods, he noted.

PM Modi said that the country is again faced with a big battle against COVID-19 and conditions will improve with the decisions taken in recent days.

India has been witnessing an alarming spike in cases since the beginning of February this year, forcing state and union territory (UT) governments to impose restrictions, including lockdowns, night curfews and weekend curfews.

Amid this, PM Modi held crucial meetings with health ministry officials, state governments, leading doctors across the country and pharma companies to discuss the situation over the past few days.

The Prime Minister in his meetings regularly highlighted that the mantra of "test, track and treat" should be the priority of the authorities to break the chain of the COVID-19 infection. He had also urged authorities to ramp up the vaccination drive in India and clear up the misconceptions and rumours about vaccines to people.

Notably, the central government on Monday removed the age restriction imposed over-vaccination and announced that all people above the age of 18 can get a vaccine jab in India from May 1.

The Centre also allowed vaccine makers to sell vaccines to private dealers. It, however, said that vaccine manufactures would need to sell 50 per cent of their vaccines to the Centre while the rest could be sold to states, UTs and in the open market.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta