Resuming Church Services 

Much to the delight of the faithful, some churches have opened for Eucharistic celebrations in Goa and other places.  All precautionary measures have been put in place to conduct these services. In most cases only 30-50 parishioners are being permitted inside the church at a time, even though the demand is understandably very high.  Churches have adopted different methods for selecting the congregants. I believe there should be one standard procedure. All those who wish to attend mass should give their names to the Church authorities. These names must be written on slips of paper and put in a pot. Selection must be strictly by drawing of lots. Subsequently, drawing of lots must continue till all names in the pot are exhausted. Thereafter the process can be repeated afresh. In some churches senior citizens are not permitted because they are more susceptible to the virus. I am a senior citizen, and I am not amused at the unsolicited concern for senior citizens.  Time and again we are reminded to refrain from going outdoors. But does anyone bother how we procure our food, or even if we are alive or dead in our homes? I believe that if churches are open then anyone who wishes to attend the services may be permitted as long as all necessary precautions are taken. Senior citizens may be requested to refrain from going to church. But they must not be barred.  Age cannot be a deterrent in church.


Clinics Should Rise To Occasion

THE Indian Medical Association, Goa branch, is providing free tele-consultation to nearly 4,200 asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic COVID-19 patients who have availed the option of home isolation. After the countrywide Unlock 4.0 was announced many of the services have been thrown open. Some private clinics have started operating; however many clinics in the state remain shut. While the focus is on treating COVID patients, it must be said that citizens also need to visit the doctor for treatment of other illness and routine check-up. It is but natural for doctors to be apprehensive of contracting the virus. But the clinics could start operating by taking all necessary precautions, which those from the medical profession could be well aware of. Dental  and eye clinics could follow some strict standard operating procedures.  Family doctors could give consultation to their regular patients over the phone. When all the pharmacies are operating, it does not seem appropriate for the private doctors to keep their clinics closed. Patients with other illness could be apprehensive of visiting the hospitals as they could be subject to cross infections. Private clinics could attend to a limited number of patients and with prior appointment.  


Don’t Gamble On People’s Lives

THE worsening COVID situation in the state calls for a cautious decision on partial reopening of schools. We cannot put the lives of  students and their teachers at risk. There is no doubt that the economy and tourism must be revived, but the priority has to be the health of the people, which cannot be compromised. At the moment, the focus of the government has to be on taking proper care of every patient. All attempts must be made to save every life possible. Certain politicians for reasons best known are keen on restarting casino operations. But in the prevailing situation it could be a wrong gamble only leading to further chaos.