COVID-19 spreading to rural India: PM Modi

The Asian Age.  | Age Correspondent

India, All India

The Centre, he said, was working on a war footing to check the second wave of infections

PM Modi was speaking at the release of the eighth installment of financial benefits under the PM-Kisan scheme via video conferencing. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday warned that the Covid-19 pandemic was rapidly spreading in rural areas, as he urged all citizens to take precautions, wear masks and keep social distancing in order to check the spread of the disease that has claimed over 2.6 lakh lives.

The Centre, he said, was working on a “war footing” to check the second wave of infections and was setting up new hospitals and oxygen generating plants while augmenting supplies of medicines and vaccines.

“I want to warn you about corona. This pandemic is spreading fast in rural villages. Every government is making efforts to stop this. But awareness of this among rural people and the cooperation of panchayats is equally important,” the Prime Minister said, saying the country was facing an “invisible enemy”.

Speaking at the release of the eighth installment of financial benefits under the PM-Kisan scheme via video conferencing, Mr Modi added: “You have never disappointed the nation. We hope this time too, to protect yourself and your family from Covid, all necessary precautions are taken. Wearing masks properly and regularly is important.”

Facing the world’s worst health crisis, India has reported over three lakh daily infections for 22 consecutive days. The health ministry said India logged 3,43,144 new infections in the last 24 hours, taking the case tally to 2,40,46,809. The tally of total cases crossed 2.4 crores on Friday. With 4,000 more deaths, the toll stands at 2,62,317 since the pandemic first struck India over a year ago. While 2,00,79,599 people have recovered from the virus across India, the number of active cases is 37,04,893. The bulk of new infections is said to be coming from rural areas.

On Friday, Mumbai reported 1,657 new cases, and over 2,572 recoveries and 62 deaths in the last 24 hours. Seeing a dip in the number of positive cases, Delhi on Friday reported 8,506 new cases, the lowest since April 10, with the positivity rate falling to 12.40 percent; and 289 more deaths. The Kerala government on Friday extended the strict statewide lockdown to fight the pandemic till May 23.

Andhra Pradesh reported 22,018 new Covid-19 cases, taking the cumulative caseload to 13,88,803. With 15,747 new Covid cases, Uttar Pradesh recorded 312 deaths in the last 24 hours. Kerala reported over 34,000 new cases on Friday, and Odisha 12,390 new cases and 22 more deaths Friday. Karnataka reported 41,779 new cases, 35,879 recoveries and 373 deaths in the last 24 hours. Rajasthan had 14,289 fresh Covid cases and 155 deaths on Friday, taking the infection tally to 8,35,814, with the death toll in the state at 6,472, officials said.

The health ministry said Friday it would supply a total of 191.99 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccines -- Covishield and Covaxin -- to the states and Union territories free of cost from May 16 to May 31. These include 162.5 lakh Covidshield doses and 29.49 lakh Covaxin doses.