The Centre should consider imposing a nationwide lockdown in view of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is more unpredictable and deadly, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said on Sunday.
Gehlot was addressing a video conference after he and Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan virtually laid foundation stones for medical colleges in the state’s Chittorgarh and Sriganganagar districts.
Several states have imposed lockdowns and restrictions at their level to break the COVID-19 transmission chain, but there is a lack of intra-state coordination, the chief minister said. In such a situation, the Centre should consider imposing a lockdown again with uniformity across the country after taking into consideration the experiences of the previous nationwide lockdown last year, Gehlot said.
The Rajasthan government has announced a strict lockdown in the state from May 10 to 24 under which intra-state movement has also been disallowed. Delhi and states such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Karnataka have also imposed strict restrictions and lockdowns to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is unpredictable and more deadly, and has taken a terrible form, Gehlot said, adding that vaccination should be given top priority. During the event, he also urged the Union health minister to increase the number of oxygen plants being installed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the state, to provide additional tankers for oxygen transportation and to allocate oxygen to Rajasthan from nearby states instead of the eastern states of the country.
The chief minister said that the Centre, states and people will have to fight together against the pandemic and then only the country can tide over it.
Union Minister Vardhan said that India is going through a challenging time and the Centre is making all efforts to ensure availability of resources to all states.
He also suggested to state governments that those due for their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine should be equally prioritised. Vardhan said that the number of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has increased to 22 and it is planned to establish medical colleges in 110 districts. In this order, out of 75 medical colleges approved in the third phase, the maximum 15 are in Rajasthan. The medical colleges in Chittorgarh and Sriganganagar are being constructed at a cost of Rs 325 crore each.