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Seal State’s Borders

Several state governments have suggested extension of lockdown beyond April 14, some openly through public media, others in communication to the Centre, because they feel the fight against coronavirus is going to be long drawn. There is a strong opinion building up among the medical fraternity, bureaucracy, industry, travel sector, farmers and other citizens in Goa that the state too must extend the lockdown. The overwhelming concern is that the state should not allow its borders to be opened or permit travel by train or bus or other transport to the state. The state cabinet met on Wednesday on the question of extension of lockdown. The Goa government is expected to send its views to the Centre. It is necessary that the state government takes the decision and implements it in a firm and transparent manner. The government must inform the public of its decision in advance to avoid panic. The announcement of the 21-day lockdown took people by surprise, which resulted in a rush to grocery and medical stores to buy essentials. That kind of panic will not happen if the people get time to prepare.

The people have to accept that an extension of the lockdown seems to be the only way to contain the spread of the coronavirus. However, the people have a right to demand of the government to maintain grocery and medicine supplies. The government must ease restrictions on the movement of essential goods and must make sure small round-the-corner shops. That alone will disperse the crowds at few shops that gather owing to shortage of essential items at shops nearby. No person, be it Goan or any of the thousands of migrants, should face hunger due to extension of lockdown. The extended lockdown would become handy for the authorities to conduct an authentic survey and ascertain how many people are there with symptoms of coronavirus. The government should use the containment model of Bhilwara district administration of Rajasthan to reduce positive cases to zero.

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