Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that there was a huge demand for oxygen and medicines and the government was doing its best to augment supplies. PM Modi was addressing the nation as an aggressive second wave of COVID-19 infections sweeps the nation bringing with it lockdowns and restrictions and overwhelming health infrastructure.

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“The demand for oxygen has increased in many parts of the country. The Centre, state government, 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,” PM Modi said amid complaints of shortages from several states.

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PM Modi was addressing the nation, his first this year. Last year, he had addressed the countrymen several times as the pandemic hit the country.

Amid complaints, from several states, of shortages in hospital capacity, oxygen and medicine, the PM said, “Work is on to increase the number of beds in hospitals. In some cities, large COVID19 dedicated hospitals are being built.” 

PM Modi started off his speech with a word of praise for frontline workers, saying they have put their lives at stake to save the lives of others, like they did during the first wave in 2020. Speaking about the second wave of infections that has swept through the country, PM Modi said, “Things were under control till a few weeks back then this new wave of coronavirus hit like a storm.”

He also offered condolences to those who have lost their kin to the deadly COVID-19 wave.