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Vijai slams state govt over SOP for domestic travellers

Panaji: The Goa Forward Party (GFP) has taken strong objection to the latest Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the state government for domestic travellers, mainly tourists, who would be arriving in Goa by interstate flights from Monday.

Rolling out a new set of SOPs, secretary for health Nila Mohanan had stated that the domestic flight passengers as well as those who arrive in the state by road or rail would have to opt for either a paid COVID-19 test or a 14-day home quarantine on entry into the state.

GFP president Vijai Sardesai retorting on the matter questioned as to which homes these tourists would be allowed to reside during their quarantine period. “Are they really tourists or family members of the Babus from Delhi or relations of the higher ups of the Bharatiya Janata Party from the national capital,” he further queried.

“On the other hand, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane is tweeting that the SOP has to be stringent and a COVID-19 negative certificate should be made mandatory,” Sardesai added, pointing out, “This indicates that he is not happy with the SOP announced by his secretary for health, as it is not stringent enough to protect the health and safety of Goans.”

Stating that the political observers as well as the Goa Forward Party are wondering as to what is really going on, and who is in charge for deciding the COVID-19 related guidelines, the GFP chief said that there is no application of administrative mind in the particular matter, and both, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and the Health Minister would be responsible for destroying Goa. 

Maintaining that such a SOP is a recipe for community transmission, Sardesai said that in spite of the highest spike in the corona cases in Goa, in a day, on Sunday, the Chief Minister is discussing opening of tourism in Goa. Furthermore, the GFP president stated that an estimated 1,500 seafarers would be arriving in Goa on five flights and two ships, this week. “For these Goan people, the paid quarantine has been made compulsory, whilst for Delhiwallahs arriving in Goa from May 25 there are more easier options, which are dangerous for Goa,” he maintained, adding that the secretary for health has not been elected from any constituency and, therefore, has no compulsion to reply to the public as regards such decisions.

“The GFP is giving the government time till May 25 to withdraw these decisions,” Sardesai stated, adding, “Or be warned that we, who have been cooperative and patient till date, will have to change our SOP.”

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