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Goa’s Second Hotspot

Moti Dongor poses bigger challenge to the authorities

Moti Dongor, a slum-like area in Margao, is the next coronavirus hotspot after Mangor Hill in the state. In just over 24 hours in the area more than a dozen people were found to have coronavirus that has affected nearly 1,200 people in the state and claimed three lives. The first five positive cases reported in Moti Dongor were linked to the Mangor Hill area of Vasco town, which became the first hotspot in the state as well as the first containment zone. With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing at a fast pace, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane has sought declaration of Moti Dongor as a containment zone. As the area is densely populated and people living there are from poorer sections of society who do not have enough space or sensitivity to maintain hygiene and social distancing, they are vulnerable and it would be difficult to contain the spread of the coronavirus among them. The state health authorities need to act fast to contain the situation before the situation becomes unmanageable.

It has to be noted that though coronavirus does not differentiate between classes of people, most of the people in the state who were found to have been affected by the dreaded contagion were from poorer sections of the society and living in congested habitations or slum-like areas, be it Mangor Hill, Zuarinagar and now Moti Dongor. These areas are bereft of basic civic amenities. Enforcing safety protocols to prevent the spread of the virus is a nightmare for the officials. Now that many people have been found to be COVID-19 victims in these areas, the authorities should ensure that all the personnel engaged in the prevention of spread of the virus and enforcement of the standard operating procedures are first insulated from being exposed to the virus; otherwise, the failure of containment witnessed in Mangor Hill which led to spread of virus throughout the state could
be repeated. 

The detection of coronavirus positive cases in Moti Dongor has placed the residents on tenterhooks who should be given all possible help to tide over the situation and come out of it. Declaring the area as a containment zone without delay was what the residents of the area as well as the rest of the Margao city wanted. One of the mistakes made in Mangor Hill was delayed containment strategy. People residing in the containment zone at Mangor Hill had to agitate as the state authorities failed to fulfill their demand for realigning the zoning of the containment area. People living even in areas like Bada Mangor, where there have been no reported cases of COVID-19, have been made to endure life in the containment zone for nearly a month. The people in the area are also aggrieved as the authorities have failed to make arrangements for easy availability of essential items since the area was declared as a containment zone. Non-availability of essential items could compel the local people to break the fences of containment. That kind of situation should be avoided at all costs.

With more and more areas recording fresh cases of coronavirus forcing the government to admit that Goa was under community transmission, the spread of the virus can only be fought with the active cooperation of the local communities in particular and the Goan people in general. As the government measures have failed in controlling the spread of disease, the authorities have to redesign their standard operating procedures and take people’s help in their strict implementation to combat the virus. The government must go on relentlessly creating awareness among the masses that the best way to fight the disease was to protect themselves from catching the virus by unfailingly using masks, social distancing and hand sanitising. People would also have to be told that ignoring any virus symptoms and delaying treatment could be dangerous and might prove to be fatal; so such negligence should be avoided. The government has to guarantee easy availability of essential items in the containment zone to prevent people from sneaking out and spreading the virus. The government should also quickly declare more and more areas as micro containment zones for more effective and faster control of the virus.

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