02:12 GMT08 May 2021
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    Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that state governments need to win the trust of the country's workforce, with a massive exodus of labourers returning home in the face of potential lockdowns, and in turn raising fears of further spreading the virus.

    Congress party politician Shashi Tharoor has called on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to establish a bipartisan COVID-19 Task Force, comprising parliamentarians and representatives from various badly affected states, with the authority to take decisions on resource allocation.

    Calling COVID as "a crisis beyond politics," Tharoor said: “The virus must be beaten by us all."

    ​Tharoor’s appeal for a task force comes amid frantic demands from several state governments for oxygen, medicine, and vaccine supplies amid serious shortages.

    Delhi State Chief Arvind Kejriwal has raised the concerns of hospitals that are running desperately low on oxygen for COVID patients. 

    ​States including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra have complained about a lack of vaccines and medicines. 

    Many states are witnessing an overwhelming burden on their health services while the federal government is struggling to supply oxygen.

    On Tuesday night, PM Modi, in an address to the nation, ruled out the possibility of a complete lockdown in the near future.

    “The state governments should keep lockdown as the last resort. We need to focus on micro containment zones.”

    Meanwhile, Tharoor's call for a task force has polarised social media. 

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