Tuesday 28 Sep 2021

Pandemic: Testing time for the govt

STEPHEN DIAS | MAY 15, 2021, 11:03 PM IST

With the pandemic in full swing, Goa is witnessing its toughest phase so far. The number of dead and those being tested positive are increasing by the day.

The situation has turned extremely serious and Goa is topping the list compared to other States in the country. This is disheartening to see, when our beautiful Goa was a once a in the green zone just a little while back. On Thursday, 13 more patients died as the level of oxygen dropped in GMC. 

But then, blaming logistics and oxygen supply is easy. Despite pleas, our Chief Minister found it fit to keep the borders open and decided against a total lockdown. This gave migrants and tourists a free pass into our State when Maharashtra and Karnataka had imposed strict restrictions. 

The reason given by our CM was sustaining the economy of the State was important. But now in hindsight, we may say that allowing them in, may have been a very short-sighted move, because our green zone Goa began to drift from bad to worse and is now in the red zone. 

If the government had controlled not only the borders (and the casinos and other indoor partying establishments) the income might have been slightly less but the cases would not have increased to this level and we could have had a sustained economic revival without this second pseudo-lockdown crushing the State again. 

Now, with the fortnight curfew, the streets of Panjim are completely deserted with no vehicular traffic. However, construction activity is continuing in full swing in and around the city. 

Work on a 15-storey building is going on in the heart of the city. The Captain of Ports and the government are involved in some constructing for a casino alongside Panjim jetty. In Dona Paula, construction of an '8-storey' building is also going on. 

Hundreds of labourers are still in Goa and have definitely not left the State. These workers are residing in slum areas around Taleigao, Dona Paula, Merces, Chimbel and Bambolim plateau and somehow manage to avoid the curfew and continue to work on construction sites. 

With such activity in full swing, Goa is only inviting trouble. These workers can be super-spreaders of the virus which in turn will prolong the second Covid wave.

It is time the government get its act together and crack down on such activity which can have a disastrous effect on the already crumbling health infrastructure.

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