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Opinion

‘Will act against hotels and clubs that do not follow Covid-19 norms’: Goa health minister

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The Goa government will recommend action against hotels and other tourist establishments that do not follow the Covid-19 protocol, Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said.

Lamenting that social distancing rules were dashed when the state threw crowded parties on New Year’s Eve, Rane said the state administration couldn’t do much to enforce the rules if people weren’t upholding them.

“I feel we need to be cautious as a state. We want the people of Goa to be safe. We want business activity to continue and be sustained. They (tourists) should make sure to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. We will recommend strict actions against hotels and clubs that do not maintain SOPs, ”Rane said at a news conference on Saturday.

Rane, in the last minute of New Year’s Eve, proposed a nightly curfew in Goa, a move that could have derailed the state’s New Year’s Eve celebrations that were planned by various hotels and nightclubs. However, it was rejected by Prime Minister Pramod Sawant, who said there would be no night curfew in the state, but that the rules would have to be followed.

However, images that emerged from across the state revealed revelers were seen crowding popular venues, often gathered in groups, without masks.

Also read: Free Covid-19 Vaccine for All Frontline Workers in Phase One: Harsh Vardhan

“Tourists must realize that they come here to enjoy themselves. But they should have responsibility. 60 percent of people wear masks only at airports. Goa is not a banana republic, ”Rane said.

“With folded hands, I appeal to the people of Goa and tourists to wear their masks. We want you to enjoy Goa, keep social distancing. The government should increase the fine to 500 rupees on the beaches. These people will not understand. We want Goa to be considered one of the top tourist destinations. I’m not saying don’t go to the beach, go to the beach but keep your social distancing, “Rane said.

“I’m sorry there is a spike and the spike will be uncontrollable. Reporting cases on time will help us keep the countdown, ”Rane said as well.

Goa is seeing around 100 new cases of Covid-19 each day, which is lower than the 500 daily cases that were recorded at the peak of the infection in September last year. However, the state has the highest number of Covid-19 deaths per million, having registered more than 700 deaths to date and more than 50,000 accumulated registered cases so far, representing more than 3 percent of the population of the state.

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