While the neighbouring states like Maharashtra and Kerala are struggling with sudden surge of covid cases, dean Goa Medical College and in-charge of Covid hospitals, Dr Shivanand Bandekar said that, in case of a second wave, the state is prepared.
“We kept our infrastructure at the ESI Hospital, Margao, intact. The South Goa district hospital is still under the administration of the GMC and we are better prepared with all kinds of equipment, like high flow nasal oxygen (HFNOs) and ventilators,” Bandekar said.
When asked whether more beds will be made available during the second wave as there was a shortage during the first wave, he said, “There are more beds that can be commissioned at the South Goa district hospital. Right now, we are using only one-tenth of the bed capacity so we can increase this ten times. The hospital has a capacity of 500 beds and we are only using 50 beds.”
“We will take critically critical patients and we will continue till the time Covid cases are zero. Because we have all the super specialties and this was a policy decision taken by the expert committee,” he added.
At present, the GMC has 67 patients, more than the South Goa district hospital. “We want to keep some load (of patients) in the South Goa district hospital and our teams will also go there. It’s not that we are handing it over. We will be doing this in association with DHS (directorate of health services),” he said.
Bandekar also suggested that Goa government could consider making it mandatory for visitors entering the state to produce RT-PCR negative certificate just like Maharashtra has done upon arrival.
“When we travel to Mumbai or Maharashtra, they ask for a RT-PCR test done between 48 and 72 hours prior to the travel. It is my personal view, but our government can also ask them (visitors) to show their latest RT-PCR test and then travel,” Bandekar said.
“This will help filter our positive cases, who automatically not only won’t come to Goa, but the person will also know that he or she is positive,” he said.
This suggestion has sparked doubts among experts from the tourism industry in Goa who feel that it would affect the slowly rejuvenating tourism of Goa post lockdowns. According to them, tourists choose to visit Goa for a break mainly because of the less rules and regulations related to arrival and travelling in Goa. But if the PCR tests are made mandatory, tourists won’t be willing to enter Goa.
Even it is so, neglecting this and not making it mandatory to get PCR tests on arrival in Goa can lead to spread of the virus in the state. Currently Goa has witnessed a steady decline in cases with deaths also dropping drastically with no mortalities seen on many days.