Asks people to take precautions and get vaccinated, announces relief measures
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the coronavirus pandemic is rapidly spreading in rural areas, as he urged citizens to take precautions, wear masks and maintain social distance to check spread of the disease that has already claimed at least 2.6 lakh lives. He was addressing a virtual audience via video conference at the release of the 8th installment of financial benefits under the PM-Kisan scheme.
The government, he said, is working on “war footing” to control the second wave of infections, and is setting up new hospitals and oxygen generating plants, while augmenting supplies of medicines and vaccines. He asked states to crack down on black marketing of medicines and other essential items.
“I want to warn you about corona. This pandemic is spreading fast in villages. Every government is taking efforts to stop this. Awareness about this among rural people and cooperation of panchayat institutes are equally important.”
“You have never disappointed the nation. We hope this time too, you will take all necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family from Covid. Wearing mask properly and regularly is important,” Modi said.
Modi urged farmers to be aware of this invisible enemy and take precautions and timely medication. He asked people to wear masks, maintain social distancing and undergo testing if there are any symptoms. He urged them not to take Covid symptoms, like cold and fever, lightly. “Get the test done, isolate yourself and start medication on time.” After vaccination too, people should not forget to follow Covid appropriate behaviour, he added.
Facing the world’s worst health crisis, India reported more than 3 lakh daily infections for 22 consecutive days. With 3,43,144 new infections in the last 24 hours, the tally of total cases crossed 2.4 crore. With 4,000 fresh deaths, the toll now stands at 2,62,317, since the pandemic first struck India more than a year ago.
A bulk of new infections is said to be coming from rural areas.
Modi expressed confidence the country will win the battle against the virus, which he described as an “invisible enemy” and “multi-coloured” in nature. “After 100 years, such a terrible pandemic is testing the world at every step. In front of us, we have an invisible enemy, which comes in many forms. We have lost close ones to this enemy,” Modi said.
He emphathised with the pain of those countrymen who have lost near and dear ones in the Covid battle. “I have felt the same pain that many people have undergone. We’re fighting with all our might... In this fight against the second wave, we’re overcoming obstacles in resources,” he said.
Every government department, armed forces and scientists are working day and night to fight against COVID-19, he said.
“India is not a country to lose courage. Neither India, nor Indians will lose courage. We will fight and we will win,” Modi emphasised, adding that vaccines are a great defence against the virus, saying so far, 18 crore doses have been given in the country.
Both the Centre and the states are making continuous efforts to get everyone vaccinated at a rapid pace, he said, and urged people to get their jabs when their turn comes.
Highlighting steps taken to boost essential medicines and oxygen supplies across the country, the PM said Covid hospitals and oxygen plants using latest technology are being set up in different parts of the country. “Special trains are engaged in supplying oxygen to different parts of the country. Oxygen tankers and drivers are working without pause. Be it doctors, nursing staff, sanitation workers, lab technicians, ambulance drivers, sample collectors — all are working 24 hours to save each individual,” he added.
Modi further said the government and the pharma sector have boosted production of essential medicines, while also importing them where necessary.
On hoarding and black marketing of essential medicines, the PM said in the current tough times, some people are engaged in hoarding and black marketing of medicines and essential items. “I urge states to take strict action against such people. This is against humanity,” he said.
On the vaccination programme, Modi said vaccines will give us protective cover against the virus, reducing the risk of serious illness. “The Centre and all state governments are together making continuous efforts to enable more and more countrymen get vaccinated quickly,” he said.
He added that free vaccination is being done in government hospitals across the country. "So, whenever your turn comes, do get vaccinated.”
Modi also said the government has started free foodgrain distribution to 80 crore poor beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for two months — May and June.
“I urge states to ensure there is no problem in distribution of free grains to the poor,” he added.