Goa sees two more COVID-19 positive cases

Tally at five; samples of senior citizen who died in quarantine facility test negative

Two more people tested positive for COVID-19 in Goa on Sunday, taking the number of cases in the State to five.

Officials, however, clarified that medical reports of a 68-year-old woman, who died at a government quarantine facility earlier in the day, said she had tested negative for the virus. The woman, who was suffering from respiratory distress and had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), had been quarantined due to her symptoms. She died at 3 a.m.

Of the two new positive patients, one had arrived in Mumbai from the Bahamas via New York and then flown to Goa. The other person is the brother of one of the three who had tested positive earlier this week and had already been in isolation. All five were said to be in a stable condition.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said the government is increasing the number of isolation beds in the State. “Over 700 people are in different stages of quarantine and isolation in Goa … The new district hospital in Margao will be a quarantine facility. Besides, another private hospital is being requisitioned as a COVID hospital,” he said.

The CM said that though India has entered the third stage of the pandemic, Goa would be a safe zone if no more cases are reported till April 14. “This is possible only provided those who suspect symptoms come forward for quarantine, maintain social distancing and stay at home. With the borders sealed, no more outsiders can enter Goa,” he said.

Dr. Sawant said the government has ordered 100 new ventilators and is looking at requisitioning more from private hospitals.

Health Minister Viswajit Rane said a private hotel in Panaji and the Goa International Centre have been kept ready as quarantine facilities. The government is also looking to turn six hotels into isolation centres.

On making essential supplies available to the people, Dr. Sawant said there were issues with wholesalers. “If wholesalers do not open their godowns for supplies, the government will act against them. Some people are also selling commodities at a higher price. Action will be taken against them,” the Chief Minister said.

He said online food supply aggregators and pizza delivery outlets have been allowed to continue their services so that people can order food.

Dr. Sawant said the State-run transport undertaking, Kadamba Transport Corporation, has started a food bus to ensure that daily wage labourers do not go hungry. The government has also made food and water available to daily wage workers from other States at sports grounds in Peddem in North Goa and Navelim in South Goa.

The government has appointed an IAS officer to coordinate with various consulates and embassies regarding their citizens who are stranded in the State. On Saturday night, 29 tourists flew back to the Czech Republic on a special flight.

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