Speaking exclusively to Republic TV on Monday, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant ruled out the possibility of imposing a night curfew or lockdown in the State. While conceding that the COVID-19 cases are increasing, he contended that the only solution is to increase testing, ensure medical facilities and create micro-containment zones. Mentioning that Goa is recording nearly 450 daily cases, Sawant stated that the aim was to reduce the mortality rate.
Weighing in on the state's response to the COVID-19 crisis amid the alarming situation in neighbouring Maharashtra, the Goa CM remarked, "Our economy is dependent on tourists. That's why we have not demanded a COVID-19 negative certificate from anyone. We do not want to close the State border. We know that the cases are increasing in Karnataka and Maharashtra. But we are advising people to avoid unnecessary travel. It is necessary to take precautions".
Pramod Sawant stated, "Just like the national scenario, cases are rising in Goa. But at present, we have not declared any lockdown in the State. We are increasing testing and making available hospital facilities to people. I think the only solution is increasing the testing, home quarantine of COVID-19 patients and hospitalising those who require it and not imposing a lockdown."
"We have started vaccination camps on a huge scale at the Panchayat level to ensure the inoculation of a maximum number of people aged above 45. Just as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, we have commenced the Tika Utsav from yesterday. It is our endeavour to reach out to all the people eligible for vaccination," he added.
At present, there are 12,01,009 active novel coronavirus cases in India while 1,21,56,529 patients have been discharged besides 1,70,179 fatalities. On January 3, the Drugs Controller General of India accepted the recommendations of the Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, paving way for the approval of COVISHIELD and COVAXIN. While only healthcare and frontline workers were vaccinated at government facilities in the initial phase, the inoculation drive was expanded to include people above 60 years of age and those aged above 45 years having comorbidities in the second phase.
From April 1 onwards, all persons above the age of 45 can have become eligible for inoculation. Amid a huge surge in daily cases and growing outcry over the alleged shortage of vaccine doses, the SEC recommended the Emergency Use Authorization of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine earlier in the day. A total of 9,35,00,748 persons have been inoculated in India till now, 1,24,05,133 of them have received the second dose of the vaccine too.