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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Defer Church Services Till  The Situation Normalises

With the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise in Goa and spreading across state due to ‘community transmission’ , the re-opening of churches for Eucharistic celebrations and public worship will only aggravate matters and jeopardise the lives of the faithful. Life is sacred and we cannot afford to  play  with the lives of people. It also makes little sense to conduct church services by excluding those above the age of 65, those below the age of 10 and those with cough, cold and fever, as these comprise more than 75 % of the parish congregation. Segregation of this kind  goes against the  true spirit of community worship which forms the essence of all Eucharistic celebrations.  It is also learnt that a few parish priests are diffident to shoulder additional responsibilities of conducting  church services in accordance with the  Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) mandated by the Archdiocese and  the govt. Some have even developed cold feet after a few priests tested COVID positive in South Goa. The faithful on their part, are happy to participate in the daily  live- streaming of  on-line masses which have gained popularity during the lockdown and are proving to be more spiritually uplifting and edifying, though not sacramentally. Therefore, there  are no two ways about except ‘Defer church services till the situation normalises’.

A F Nazareth, Alto Porvorim 

Govt Should Think Of ‘Total Weekend Lockdown’

The Karnataka government on Saturday took a slew of decisions including imposing total lockdown on Sundays in view of the spike in coronavirus cases in that state. In the past several days Goa too has seen a sudden spike in the number of COVID-19 cases with the highest single-day spike of 89 reported on Saturday. There have been three deaths reported in the state due to the deadly virus. The ideal thing to do would have been for the state to declare a total lockdown. However this has not been the case. Some villages, where there has been an increase in the number of cases, have declared a self-imposed lockdown. The state government has admitted that this is a community transmission. Cases have been detected in remote places which only goes to prove that the infection is spreading far and wide. The government could think in terms of a ‘total weekend lockdown’ when all shops, establishments, market place, offices, public transport, etc. remain closed on Saturday and Sunday. Such an arrangement could be put in place till such time that the number of positive cases decline so that the virus does not spread to more places. 

ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO

Social Gatherings Not Needed At All

True to his signature style; after a period of denial, the CM now admits that the spread of the virus in the state is ‘nothing but’ community transmission. Ironically though, this ‘transition’ of the disease has been rather rapid considering that within a span of three weeks it has spread across the state, thanks to ‘carriers’ who were in some way or the other associated with the hotspot at Mangor Hill. Further with reports emerging that the Urban Health Centre in Vasco is a single source for a bulk of cases detected in the state, the lapse by the health authorities has cost the state dear. With many of the health workers and their family members testing positive for the virus infection, the decision by some of the villages where they come from to go into ‘self-lockdowns’ to protect themselves is presumably a natural response to the alarming spread. But other than being a spontaneous response to a calamitous situation, what will a ‘voluntary closure’ of a week achieve! With further easing of restrictions, the state will have to contend with a host of other risks that could further complicate matters. Of course life must go on! Apprehending a sudden spike in infections, shutting down the region now-and-then is not a solution. Fear and unawareness about Coronavirus can no more be proffered as excuses for the confusion that prevails. While the police have been acting strictly on people violating social distancing norms and not wearing face-masks, it is indeed painful to note that many people still lack the basic decency to observe the safety norms prescribed and continue to endanger the lives of others. How insensitive can one be! Where simple sanitation tips and the highly-hyped social distancing mantra would have had a tremendous impact on the fight against the coronavirus spread, the keenness shown by people to hold social gatherings with absolute disregard for the stipulations laid down is shocking!

PACHU MENON, Margao

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