Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that the second wave of COVID19 infections had hit the country “like a storm” but added that lockdown should be the last resort. In his address to the nation amid a rampaging wave of coronavirus, the PM said that the government was trying its best to augment supplies of oxygen and medicines and ramping up health infrastructure.

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Batting for designating micro containment zones instead of imposing sweeping lockdowns, PM Narendra Modi said, “If we all follow COVID-19 protocols, there’ll be no need to impose lockdowns.” This is seen as a big relief for the industry, already teetering under the impact of the pandemic. Industry heads have been demanding more fiscal concessions to boost businesses and thereby the economy.

Amid complaints from several states of shortages in healthcare facilities, the Prime Minister said that the demand for oxygen has increased in several parts of the country and that the centre, states and private sector were working to keep up with the demand.

On COVID-19 vaccines, Modi said that steps are being taken to step up vaccine production. “India with two ‘made in India’ vaccines started the world’s largest vaccination program,” the PM said.

Speaking about the third phase of vaccination programme that’ll start on May 1, Modi said that 50% of the vaccines will be available to states and hospitals. 

As states have imposed varying degrees of restrictions, Modi urged migrant workers to stay where they were. “This trust given by the states to the workers will help them, and that they will be vaccinated in the city where they are,” Modi said in his address. 

He made a reference to the situation during the nationwide lockdown last year, when tens of thousands of migrant workers were forced to walk back home. 

He told states that “lockdown should be the last resort and focus should be on micro-containment.”

The PM also stressed on the need to spread awareness and guard against rumours. 

India is reeling under a ferocious second wave of coronavirus, with over 200,000 daily new cases being reported for the past several days. States have imposed varying degrees of restrictions to rein in the massive COVID-19 outbreak.

States are also facing a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines and medical oxygen

On Monday, India recorded 259,170 cases of COVID-19, pushing the total tally to 15,321,089. A total of 1,761 people died of the disease in the past 24 hours, pushing the toll to 180,530.