Goa added 927 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday, it’s highest daily increase in active cases of Covid-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic. The total number of active cases in Goa on Friday was 6,321. Goa’s daily count of new case increased from 265 on April 1 to 927 on Friday and the recovery rate in the state dropped below 90 percent on Thursday, first time since the resurge in February.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that, “Today there are 927 cases that is the highest . Even last year we had seen maximum of upto 750 cases a day. There were 3189 people who were tested (in the last 24 hours) of which 927 tested positive and there have been six deaths.”
Sawant said that a lockdown in the state was not on the cards but urged Goans to follow safety norms and avoid crowded places. While the state had already capped the number of people attending events in open spaces at 200, it had limited indoor attendance to 100. Five municipal councils are set to go to polls on April 23 and Sawant also urged political leaders to limit the size of their meetings.
He also asked organisers of weddings not to invite thousands of persons and follow restrictions on the number of people. “Sorry to say but people invite 5,000-10,000 to functions. Please don’t invite so many and people should also keep away from such events. The chances of contracting the Covid infection at such events are high. Everyone must take care of themselves,” said Sawant.
Goa has neither curbed the entry of tourists from other states nor mandated testing on arrival. Sawant said that the government was not imposing any restrictions on tourist entry because lockdowns and night curfews in other states had already led to a drop in arrivals of visitors.
“On account of restrictions in other states in the country, there had been a drop in arrivals by flight by upto 70 percent and tourists coming by road had dropped by 50 percent. We don’t need to restrict them yet because they do not come in contact with local people much. Tourism activity is not restricted, but we are more concerned about our people,” Sawant said adding that there were no restrictions on tourism activities including Casinos. “More than outsiders, we are making sure that our people don’t gather in one place and stay safe,” said Sawant.
The government had over the last two weeks augemented its hospital bed capacity and also requisitioned two stadia for reactivating Covid Care centres. The CM also said that the state will introduce mobile testing vans next week that will provide RT-PCR test reports in upto eight hours.
“Some states have announced lockdowns and night curfews…We have to look after our people. Weddings, political meetings should be held with masks, sanitisers and social distancing,” said Sawant.
Earlier on Friday, Sawant attended an award ceremony at the Taj Resort and Convention Centre in Panaji, where he was among the recipients of the ‘Champions of Change 2020’ awards organised by Panchayati Times, Delhi-based Hindi national monthly digital magazine and Power Corridors. Thanking the organisers for hosting the event in Goa, Sawant said, “Is Covid sthiti mein bhi aap logon ne is tarah ka itna bada function Goa mein organize kiya is ke liye mein aap ka abhinandan karta hoon aur dhanyavad deta hoon (I congratulate and thank you for holding such a big function in Goa even in this Covid situation).
Governor of Maharashtra and Goa Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who was the chief guest at the ceremony said, “Some people said examinations should not be held. I said why should they not be held? I told students, I told Vice Chancellors, don’t be fearful. Aaj ka Corona aur bhi khatarnak hai. Isi liye humko aur bhi savdhaan hona hai (Today the virus is more dangerous. We have to be more cautious). But we should not be fearful, we should be only careful (sic). Be careful, don’t be careless. Is raaste pe chalenge toh I think pehli laut ka hum ne muqabla kiya hai, dusri laut ka bhi muqabla karenge. Aur jo jo iska muqabla hota jayega, toh sharam ke marein Corona bhi wapas chala jayega (If we follow this path, we will fight the second wave like we faught the first. And as we keep fighting, corona too will be ashamed and it’ll go back).”
The award was conferred on many including Sawant, BJP leader Raj Purohit, singers Sonu Nigam and Hema Sardesai. Former chief justice of India K G Balakrishnan, a jury member of the award also attended the event with former chief justice of India Dipak Misra attending it virtually.
Koshyari also said, “In this time of corona, if we do this much…that we should always keep our mask on. Now you will see that we are all sitting here and some feel like this is a good chance, let’s take off our mask. Some people did that. But all the time, every time, we should be so careful ki hum mask ka upyog kar rahe hai ki nahi kar rahe hai? Aaj nahi lagaya koi baat nahi, aage se dhyaan rakhein (have we worn a mask or not? Today you didn’t. That’s alright but be careful from tomorrow).”