4-day lockdown in Goa from today

A policeman standing at the entrance of the Panaji municipal market on Wednesday as people queue up to visit the market. Entry to the market has been restricted for public to avoid crowding in view of the rise in coronavirus cases in the state.

Panaji: In order to break the chain of coronavirus transmission, the Goa government on Wednesday announced a four-day lockdown in the state from 9 pm on Thursday, April 29, to 6 am on May 3 or Monday morning.

Announcing the four-day lockdown in the state, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told media that all the essential services and industries will not be shut down during the lockdown period.

Sawant, who was initially reluctant to go in for a lockdown, said the government has arrived at the decision considering the sentiments of the public.

Stating that there is no need for the public to panic, as all essential services and grocery stores will remain open, Sawant said, “Public transport will be shut down.  Besides, the weekly markets, which are organised at various places, will not be allowed during the lockdown period. Casinos will also be shut down during the lockdown.”

The Chief Minister said industrial services will be permitted within their campuses. “However, they will have to arrange their own transport for their employees,” he said. Sawant also said kitchens of restaurants and bars will remain open for home delivery of food and added that people will be permitted to collect food orders. The Chief Minister said the state borders will remain open.

“Weddings will be permitted during the lockdown with only 50 people in attendance and religious functions can continue by following the standard operating procedures and COVID-19 protocols,” Sawant said. He said the casual labourers should not be worried, as the lockdown will be lifted on Monday morning and business would be back to

normal. Appealing to the people to take precautions and start medication immediately if they develop any symptoms of the COVID-19 infection, Sawant said the state government has already modified its COVID-19 treatment protocol for home isolation, which offers medicines at the time of testing without waiting for the results.

He said the vaccination centres will continue to function during the lockdown period and people can get their jab after prior appointment. In order to avoid crowds and rush, the government has decided to shift the vaccination centres from the primary, community and urban health centres to nearby schools or government buildings.

Sawant also said reports of the samples tested for COVID-19 will be made available within 24 hours from Thursday onwards. He said five senior doctors – Dr Rajesh Naik, Dr Rajeshwar Naik, Dr Pravin Bhat, Dr Sandip Naik and Dr Milind Desai – have agreed for voluntary service to the government with regard to COVID management. “They will visit the South Goa District Hospital in Margao from Thursday,” he said.