Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the country remained vigilant round the clock against the coronavirus and asserted that the Central government took the right decisions at the right time.

Speaking at the launch of the nationwide vaccination drive against the novel coronavirus via video conferencing, PM Modi said that a high-level committee had already been constituted days before the first case of coronavirus was reported in the country.

“India remained vigilant round the clock and took the right decisions at the right time. On January 30, 2020, the first case of coronavirus was reported in India. Two weeks before this, India had already constituted a high-level committee. That day in 2020, we began surveillance. India issued its first advisory on January 17, 2020. India was among the first nations that began screening of travellers at airports,” he said.

The Prime Minister also said that the announcement of the nationwide lockdown in March 2020 was not an easy decision.

“A lockdown was also announced and it was not an easy decision. To keep such a big population at home is impossible, we knew it. We had analysed the effect of lockdown on the lives and livelihood of people. But the country moved ahead with ‘Jaan hai toh jahaan hai’ and gave priority to saving lives of the countrymen,” he said.

“I also interacted with citizens several times. The arrangement of free food to the poor was made and a supply of essential items including food, gas, and medical supply was ensured. We have set examples for the world at various levels…India’s economy hit by lockdown is also progressing and moving ahead,” he added.

The Prime Minister underlined that India is among the few nations which despite hardships, provided medicines and medical help to over 150 countries around the world.

“Whether it is paracetamol, hydroxychloroquine, or testing equipment, India has made every possible effort to save people of other countries,” he added.

A total of 3006 session sites across all states and union territories was virtually connected during the launch. Around 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each session site on the inaugural day, the union health ministry has said.

The drugs regulatory body of India has currently approved two vaccines. Pune-based Serum Institute of India has developed the Covishield vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University while the Covaxin has been developed by Hyderabad’s Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Medical Council of research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology.

India reported 15,158 new COVID-19 cases, 16,977 discharges and 175 deaths in the last 24 hours, as per the Union Health Ministry’s data on Saturday. The cumulative caseload in the country reached 1,05,42,841 including 2,11,033 active infections and 1,01,79715 recoveries. The death toll has climbed to 1,52,093. (ANI)