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If we work as one nation, there will not be any scarcity of resources, says Modi on combating COVID
New Delhi, April 23, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called for working together as a nation and pooling resources to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chairing a meeting on the COVID-19 situation with Chief Ministers of 11 states and Union Territories which have reported the maximum number of cases, Modi said the biggest basis of India’s success during the first wave of the pandemic was “our united efforts and united strategy. We will have to address this challenge in the same manner.”
He assured the Centre’s full support to all the States and UTs in this fight. The Ministry of Health was also in touch with the states, monitoring the situation closely and issuing the necessary advice from time to time.
On the oxygen supply issue raised by the States, he said efforts were on to increase the supply. All the concerned departments and ministries of the government were working together. Industrial oxygen has also been diverted to meet immediate requirements.
Modi urged all States to work together and coordinate with one another to fulfil requirements relating to medicines and oxygen supply. He urged the states to check hoarding and black marketing of oxygen and medicines. Every state should ensure that no oxygen tanker, bound for any state, was stopped or gets stranded. He urged the states to set up a high-level coordination committee to reach oxygen to different hospitals.
The committee should ensure that as soon as there was an allotment of oxygen from the Centre, it could immediately be delivered as per requirement in different hospitals. He said he had chaired a meeting on oxygen supply yesterday and will be attending another one later in the day to discuss all the options for increasing the supply.
The Central government was working on all possible options to reduce the travel time and turnaround time of oxygen tankers. For this, the Railways have started Oxygen Express. Empty oxygen tankers were also being transported by the Air Force to reduce one-way travel time.
“Along with upgrading of resources, we have to focus on testing and widespread testing should be conducted. Our vaccination programme should not slow down in this situation,” he added.
He said India was running the world’s largest vaccination programme and so far, more than 15 crore vaccine doses had been provided free of cost to the states by the Union Government. The campaign launched by the Centre to provide free vaccine to all citizens above 45 years as well as healthcare and frontline workers, will also continue in the same manner. From May 1, the vaccine will be available to all citizens above 18 years of age. “We will also need to work in mission mode to get more and more people vaccinated,” he said.
Along with all measures for the treatment of the patients, hospital safety was also very important. Expressing grief on recent incidents of oxygen leakage and fire at hospitals, Modi said the administrative staff of the hospital needs to be made more aware of the safety protocols.
Given the possibility of lockdowns or movement restrictions in the worst-affected areas, he urged the administration to continuously create awareness among the people against panic buying. “With united efforts, we will be able to stop this second wave of the pandemic across the country,” he added.
Earlier, Dr V K Paul, Member, NITI Aayog gave a presentation highlighting the preparations to counter the new surge of infections. He also presented the roadmap for increasing the medical facilities and targeted treatment of patients. He gave a briefing about boosting medical infrastructure, teams and supplies; clinical management; containment; vaccination and community engagement.
During the interaction, the Chief Ministers briefed the Prime Minister about the steps being taken by their governments in the current wave. They also noted that the directions by Modi and the road map presented by NITI Aayog would help them plan their responses in a better way.