New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: With India reporting over 3 lakh COVID-19 cases for the fourth straight day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday addressed the nation through his monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat and said that the second wave of the pandemic is testing the country's "patience and capacity to bear pain" but assured that the Centre is taking all necessary steps to tackle the current situation.

Pushing for 'dawai bhi, kadai bhi', PM Modi urged people across India not to fall for rumours about COVID-19 and said that everyone should get vaccinated as quickly as possible. He also said that the Centre's free vaccination program for people above the age of 45 will continue.

"I urge people to not fall prey to any rumour about vaccine. You all must be aware that the government of India has sent free vaccine to all state governments. All people above 45 years of age can benefit from this. From May 1st, vaccines will be available for every person above 18 years of age," said PM Modi.

"I appeal to you all to seek information on COVID19 through reliable sources only. I am seeing many doctors have taken to social media to share information on COVID19 and are also offering consultations," he added.

Lauding healthcare staff and frontline workers, the Prime Minister said that he has held several meetings over the past few days with doctors, medical experts, pharma companies to discuss the situation in the country, adding that the Centre is taking all necessary steps to help the states and union territories (UTs).

"We all know how difficult mentally it is to take care of ourselves, our family during disease. But our nursing staff in hospitals has to do this very job continuously, with so many patients at the same time. This sense of service is a great strength of our society," he said.

India has been witnessing a massive spike in coronavirus cases since February that led to a shortage of essential medical equipment and oxygen in several states and UTs, including Maharashtra and Delhi. Amid this, PM Modi has held several meetings over the past few days with chief ministers and representatives of different states and UTs to take a stock of the situation.

Meanwhile, phase three of the coronavirus vaccination drive, which will include inoculating those in the age group of 18 to 45 years, will begin across the country from May 1. Ahead of the beginning of phase three, Serum Institue of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech have declared their prices for their respective vaccines -- Covishield and Covaxin.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma