At a time when the state has been witnessing an average of 600 cases daily, the borders, which under Unlock 4.0 were opened up completely, are being considered as the most negligent in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a report, it is learned that youth, with a home quarantine stamp on his hand, was seen roaming and even visiting a shop for a haircut in North Goa. Apparently, the youth was supposed to be quarantined in Mumbai, but his presence here in the state has drawn major criticism from the people of Goa.
Before, Goa would ensure testing at its borders or either a compulsory covid-19 negative certificate. However, post-Unlock 4 – which commenced from this month – the borders in the state have been left open, without any vigil of persons who may have covid symptoms, or like in the above case who was supposed to be quarantined in Mumbai reached Goa.
Goa has crossed the 30,000 marks of confirmed total cases and the surge doesn’t appear to reduce anytime soon. Also, locals across sections have been urging tourists and others not to visit the state, at least till the covid situation improves.
Last month, a noted travel influencer was at the receiving end of social media criticism for not wearing masks and promoting Goa ‘open for tourism’. At a time when the state has opened up its borders for tourists, many locals have opined that this influx may result in pressure on Goa’s already burdened healthcare system.
“We already have many cases, and with the influx of tourists, if cases arise, it will be a complete mess as many locals may not get the desired treatment due to shortage of beds,” said one local resident.
It is learned that some other states still do covid-19 tests at entry points, while those that have stopped testing at least do the thermal screening of passengers. Goa, however, doesn’t do either. The Goa airport however stated that thermal screening is done only for international passengers.
Goa is just a drive-away distance from India’s covid hotspot Maharashtra, and with many people opting to drive to the state as part of a short holiday or getaway, it only means worry for local residents.
“Tourism is always welcome in Goa, however, at this stage, I think it could have waited considering Goa’s cases. But yes, the economy is important, so some balance between the two could have been worked out, such as testing those who enter Goa to be on the safer side,” said another local along Goa’s tourist belt.
Also, several production houses have begun certain shootings in Goa, and reportedly, seven crew members of one shoot team tested positive last week in the state.
Social media has continued to be abuzz with many saying that testing at borders should continue to prevent further increase in cases and also to ensure those entering Goa are not carrying the virus.
This comes at a time when the Health Minister said yesterday that Goa will see the worst phase of the pandemic by this month-end and in October, and analyzing the daily caseload of the state, this appears to be true. Also, GMC, as of yesterday, had no beds free for covid patients, the health minister said, with efforts being made to convert more wards for covid patients.