EDITORIAL

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Stranded Foreigners

A number of foreign tourists were stranded in Goa, as in other states of India, when the international flights were stopped. Their plight was miserable: the governments of their nations were neck-deep in the fight against coronavirus and were taking time to arrange charters to take them home. The stranded tourists were finding their lives difficult in the lockdown. Though no such cases were reported in Goa, many of them had to face hostile attitudes in the hotels where they stayed; some of them were asked to leave. They were worried about catching the virus; and the local people were worried about catching the virus from them, as some European countries were endemic.

Several countries sent planes to take their nationals from Goa, but some from the UK were stuck. There were about 3,000 tourists from the UK who were stranded in Goa and other states of India. At last their long distress seems to be close to be over, as the UK government has announced arranging additional charter flights for which booking started on Friday. On April 5, the UK government announced charter flights for their nationals from Goa, Mumbai and Delhi that were to take off between April 8 and April 12. About 300 UK tourists from Goa reached their country on Thursday. With the additional charters, the UK would be taking back home about 5,000 nationals.

Let us hope the UK government and the flight service operators satisfactorily address the complaint of the stranded Britons that the ticket price is ten times the normal. Several of these Britons might not find it affordable. They might prefer to stay on for some more time in Goa, which they might think is a much safer place as only seven coronavirus positive cases have been reported in the state and no deaths. Though no foreigner has been detected positive so far in Goa, the government must ensure that the foreigners who live on extended visas abide by the law and stay indoors and cooperate with the health workers for tests.