May demand Covid-19 negative report from those entering state: Goa health minister


Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane Monday said that the state should demand a Covid-19 negative report from those arriving from areas with more number of coronavirus cases. The total number of active cases in Goa stood at 1,017 on Monday.

Rane said that discussions will be held with the Dabolim airport authorities regarding testing passengers at the airport and that a final decision will be taken only after a discussion with state CM Pramod Sawant.

As the number of active cases spiked from 775 to over 1,000 in the last week, Rane said, “We thought this was a thing of the past but we have to take extra precaution.”

He also said that states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala have mandated testing for fliers arriving from Goa and that the state, too, will be thinking along similar lines.

Goa, which has seen the revival of its battered tourism sector over the last six months, has no mandatory testing requirements currently. However, Rane said that he was of the view that there should be restrictions on the number of people in a restaurant at a given time. “We have seen recently that due to some weddings, there has been a spike in Goa….I for one feel that we should increase the fine for not wearing a mask, just like in Delhi,” he said.

The health minister also said that there was a need to curtail big gatherings and that he had instructed health and FDA officials to be more vigilant since some restaurants were “acting like there was never any Covid in this country”.

He also said that restaurants found violating the safety protocols may lose their licence.

Goa has been testing between 1600-1,900 samples daily. It is aiming at increasing its testing capacity to about 2,500 daily, Rane said.

Health officials also said that while there had been seven cases of the UK variant of the coronavirus in Goa, authorities were monitoring arrivals from Portugal (many Goans hold Portuguese passports) as the Brazil variant could arrive through that route. However, no cases of the Brazil variant have been discovered in Goa yet.

Rane also said that strict SOPs will be followed during the upcoming festivals of Holi and Shigmo that are celebrated on a large scale in Goa.


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