Following a steep rise in COVID-19 cases in poll-bound Goa during the year-end festivities, the State government on Monday finally imposed a night curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the coastal State.
The decision was taken by Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant at the State Task Force’s meeting on COVID-19 today.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s delay in enforcing curfew regulations has quickly snowballed into a burning political issue in the poll-bound States, with several Opposition parties including the Congress, accusing Mr. Sawant of recklessly “playing with people’s lives” by ushering in the New Year without any curbs, despite clear evidence of mounting infections since December 25 last year.
The State on Sunday had recorded its biggest single-day jump in COVID-19 cases since May last year with 388 infections reported. The case positivity rate has crossed 10%, authorities said.
The weekly COVID-19 positivity rate in the State is around 5%. The government is also expected to enforce restrictions on indoor activities.
Furthermore, colleges in the coastal State would also remain shut till January 26 while all physical sessions have been stopped for classes 8 and 9 in schools from Tuesday onwards till January 26, informed Shekhar Salkar, a member of the State Task Force on COVID-19.
At the same time, authorities said that though the number of COVID-19 cases in the State had surged drastically since December 25 last year, the deaths and hospitalisation rate were low.
Meanwhile, 66 passengers have tested positive out of the 2,000 samples tested from Cordelia cruise ship. The ship had come from Mumbai and is presently docked at the Mormugao cruise terminal.
Goa Health Minister Viswajit Rane said that the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) staff and respective collectors had been informed of the issue and that they would decide accordingly on whether to allow the disembarking of passengers from the ship.
On Sunday, a crew member on the ship had tested positive. Since then, authorities had directed all passengers to remain on the cruise ship until their test results were out.
Mr. Rane further informed that the State had reported four more cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant taking the total number of Omicron cases in the State to five.
“Few samples that were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune for genome sequencing have confirmed four more cases of Omicron in the state of Goa,” Mr. Rane tweeted.
The Minister said that one patient is from the State and has no travel history, indicating a possibility of indigenous spread of Omicron which needed to be examined further. Mr. Rane said he would be discussing with Chief Minister Sawant on the next course of action.
The State currently has 1,671 active cases – a massive spike from nearly 450 cases on December 26.