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Monday, January 24, 2022

Goa to close schools until Jan 26, night curfew likely

4 more Omicron cases confirmed in Goa; 66 on board cruise ship test positive for Covid 19

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | Panaji |
Updated: January 4, 2022 6:00:23 am
goa covid curbsGoa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. (File)

With the Covid-19 positivity rate jumping to 10.7 per cent after New Year celebrations, the Goa government Monday announced schools and colleges will remain shut till January 26. Chief minister Pramod Sawant also said a night curfew is likely to be imposed in the state soon.

“We held a meeting of the task force (on Covid-19). We are thinking over a night curfew. There will be restrictions on schools. A detailed note will follow,” Sawant said. The chief minister heads the task force.

A member of the task force, Dr Shekhar Salkar said classes will be conducted through the online mode, but students of Classes 11 and 12 will have to come to school on the day they have to take the Covid vaccine. The government’s vaccination programme for the 15-18 age group was rolled out Monday.

While a government order on the night curfew is awaited, Salkar said the restrictions are likely to be imposed between 11 pm and 6 am starting Tuesday.

The state’s positivity rate touched 10.76 per cent on Sunday as the number of active cases rose to 1,671 – with 388 new cases and one death.

Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said samples sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, had confirmed four more cases of the Omicron variant in the state. “Few samples that were sent to NIV Pune for genome sequencing have confirmed four more cases of Omicron in Goa. One patient is from within the state, with no travel history, indicating indigenous spread which needs to be further examined. I will be discussing with the CM on the further course of action,” Rane said in a social media post.

An eight-year-old boy who traveled to Goa from the UK on December 17 was the first confirmed case of Omicron in the state.

Meanwhile, sixty-six (66) persons on board a tourist cruise ship that arrived in Goa on Sunday have tested positive for Covid-19. None of the passengers was allowed entry into the state without testing after one crew member was found positive. Officials said the government and the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) authorities will take a decision on allowing those passengers whose test reports are negative to enter the state.

“Out of the 2,000 samples tested from the Cordelia cruise ship, 66 are positive for Covid-19. Respective collectors and MPT staff have been informed of the same. The authorities will decide whether to allow disembarking of passengers from the ship. With Goa being a tourist state, it is a matter of great concern,” Rane said.

Goa has seen a steady rise in Covid-19 numbers since Christmas, when the positivity rate was 2.19 per cent. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve saw active cases jump from 461 to 1,046. On December 31, as tourists thronged the Baga-Calangute belt for revelry, the total number of active cases crossed 1,000 for the first time since August 17, and the positivity rate rose to 6.93 per cent .

Salkar said while the number of Covid-19 cases was on the rise in Goa “like elsewhere in the country”, the number of hospitalisations was not high and the “situation was under control”. He said the next week will be crucial for the government to monitor the rise in cases and the symptoms in patients to decide the future course of action.

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