After going nearly 40 days without seeing a new Covid-19 case, Goa has now been hit with a second wave of the pathogon—eight people who returned to the state tested positive between late Wednesday and Thursday.
Seven of these people were positive in two tests conducted late on Wednesday. They include a family of five returning from neighbouring Maharashtra. All of them are stable and being treated, said Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane.
On Thursday, Rane tweeted about the other case: A “Goan seafarer who was quarantined in Mumbai for 14 days arrived in Goa this morning after being tested negative in Mumbai.”
The result of his second test (RT-PCR) is awaited. The Goa government has also sent the details of the driver who returned after dropping the seafarer to the Maharashtra government.
These are the first new cases in the state since the last one detected on April 3.
With this, Goa risks losing its Green Zone classification-a status it enjoyed since May 1, when it had no more active cases.
The family which tested positive on Wednesday comprises a man and his wife, their son and daughter, and a one-year-old granddaughter from another daughter. They were returning from Solapur when they were tested at a north Goa facility, according to the state’s testing protocol.
One of the other two cases is that of a truck driver who was returning from Vapi, Gujarat after picking up drums for a small unit in Goa. He visited two dhabas along the way, which are now being checked.
The last case is that of a driver from Mumbai.
All seven had initially tested positive in the TrueNat Covid-19 testing and were then sent to Goa Medical College late night for the second RT-PCR test confirmatory tests. They were brought in at ESI Covid-19 hospital at 5 am and examined.
Till date, Goa has tested 6,151 persons of whom 14 have tested positive. “The only silver lining is that there is no community transmission in Goa, and all those admitted have come from outside,” Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said in a press briefing on Thursday.
Sawant also justified his decision to quarantine seafarers who came with a Covid-free certificate. Goan seafarer associations have continued to object the compulsory quarantine seafarers are subjected to, even after testing negative.
“The seafarer (who tested positive on Thursday) disembarked in Mumbai and had tested negative in Mumbai on April 30. Today his report has come positive. Many people were saying send them home and questioning the need for quarantine saying that they have already been quarantined first on board the ship and then in Mumbai. But we have kept them in quarantine as per the SOP that has been devised for the whole country. The SOP has been devised in consultation with experts at the central level. These are not political decisions,” he added.
One of the bigger concerns for the government, however, is the number of people entering Goa. “More than 50 per cent of the persons who are coming to Goa by trains are outsiders. It is a worry,” Sawant said.
“Seventeen person alighted from the train which halted in Goa today all 17 have been tested and their reports are negative. We will write to the railway ministry that the halts of trains (passing through) in Goa should be avoided. We cannot stop the trains, just as people are leaving Goa, so do people want to enter Goa,” he added.
The official registration has 6,200 persons having applied to collectorate to return to Goa, while 8,211 people have applied to return to the state. As many as 3,842 seafarers are stranded abroad, waiting to return.
“720 people have booked the Goa Rajdhani train and I do not know how many of these have residences here in Goa. They will all be tested. Many people want to come to Goa for holiday but do not come without permission and if you are not a resident,” he added.
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