Goa needs a boost in economy, not lockdown: CM

Panaji: Maintaining that the people in Goa should follow for at least six months all COVID-19 related guidelines like wearing masks and following social distancing, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that boost to the economic activities and not lockdown is what Goa needs at this point of time.

Ruling out any further lockdown in the state, just as the death toll linked to COVID-19 cases reached double digits, Sawant said the initial lockdown imposed in the state was to create awareness and educate people about Coronavirus, and that phase is long over now.

In an interview to Goa Doordarshan, the Chief Minister said that the need of the hour is to restart economic activities in the state, which would not be possible in case lockdown is imposed in the state. “The initial lockdown served its purpose and the public got aware about this new virus,” he noted.

Speaking further, the Chief Minister said that at present, COVID-19 cases are being reported from all the talukas, and that the lockdown would serve no purpose. “In fact, the process of unlocking has started and the priority would be given to restarting of economic activity in the state,” he said.

Maintaining that the treatment by way of plasma therapy would begin soon, Sawant said the state has adequate infrastructure to treat COVID-19 patients. “The government would be appealing to people, who have recovered from the COVID-19 infection, to donate their plasma,” he informed, pointing out, “We will be procuring the machine for the same soon.”

The Chief Minister also said that the people should prepare themselves to live with the norms like social distancing and wearing of masks for next at least six months, while increasing their immunity through yoga and booster doses supplied by the Union Ministry of AYUSH.

“Although hundred new cases are being detected in Goa every day, the recovery rate is almost 50 per cent,” he revealed, observing that just announcing more and more areas in the state as containment zones would not help in controlling the COVID-19 transmissions, and people need to take personal care to achieve the same.

Sawant also stated that the government has established 250-bedded COVID-19 hospital and, if required, another such facility could be set up. “We have 1,500 beds in various COVID care centres, the number of which can be increased up to 2,500,” he said. [NT]