Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation over the coronavirus disease situation. He mentioned that Covid-19 is the biggest epidemic to struck in the last century.
The Prime Minister's address comes at a time when India continues to fight the second wave of the pandemic and is still predicting the possibility of the third wave. Modi has been holding review meetings with state governments and central government officials regarding the vaccination drive, testing, supply of oxygen etc.
In his previous address to the country on April 20, Modi ruled out the possibility of a second nationwide lockdown and said that states should opt for it as a last resort. India had witnessed its worst health crisis during this month. Hospitals all across the country struggled with the severe shortage of oxygen supplies, beds, vaccine doses and essential anti-viral drugs such as Remdesivir.
However, the situation has been improving since May as several states, and Union territories (UTs) imposed lockdown-like restrictions to bring the infection under control. Several states such as Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh etc.- once worst-hit by the pandemic- have started the unlocking process.
"New health infrastructure has been developed in the 1.5 years with Covid hospitals, ventilators beds, to preparing a network of testing labs. During the 2nd wave in April-May, demand for medical oxygen increased at an unprecedented rate," Modi said while applauding the healthcare system in his speech.
The Prime Minister announced the central government will provide free vaccine doses for all citizens above the age of 18 after June 21. He also added that state governments will not have to spend money on procuring them.
He said free food grains will be available in fixed quantity every month for over 800 million citizens till Diwali. The free rations scheme is part of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
He urged Indians to observe the same sort of discipline that they had showed during the initial days of nationwide lockdown.
"Today, when we need to be more careful, then carelessness is creeping in, which is quite worrying. Citizens have to again maintain the same sort of discipline that they maintained in the initial days, especially in containment zones. If people are not obeying guidelines, we have to stop them, and make them understand," he said, as reported by News18
According to data uploaded on the Union health ministry's dashboard, India on Monday continued to observe decline in its daily Covid disease tally for a third consecutive day as 100,636 new infections in the last 24 hours, taking the caseload to 28,909,975.