Goa urges Centre to skip halts of train


After people reaching Goa from Mumbai and Gujarat started testing positive for COVID-19, the State government has asked the Centre to skip halts of the special train being run from New Delhi as it could put a strain on resources and infrastructure.

After being a green zone for weeks, Goa on Thursday reported its eighth positive case in 24 hours after a seafarer who entered the State by road tested positive.

The seafarer had arrived in India on April 30. He was put to test, but his report came negative after which he was in quarantine for 14-days in Mumbai. After reaching Goa on Thursday, he was again tested using the TrueNat testing and found to be positive. The Goa government immediately informed the Maharashtra government. The seafarer had been ferried by a cab driver from Mumbai, who will now need to be quarantined.

Seventeen passengers who alighted from a New Delhi-Thiruvanantapuram special train at Madgaon station on Thursday tested negative and were told to be on home quarantine for 14 days.

On Wednesday, seven people who arrived from Mumbai by road were found positive in confirmatory tests and were shifted to the dedicated COVID-19 hospital at Margao.

Of the seven positive patients, including a one-year-old girl and two women, five belong to one family. The sixth is their driver. All of them are asymptomatic.

The seventh case is the driver of a goods carrier who had driven down from the industrial town of Vapi in Gujarat. He is mildly symptomatic and this was his second trip to Goa, this month.

Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said the government has taken sufficient measures to test all those who are arriving. “No exit will be given without testing at the railway station and the airport, where two repatriation flights are expected,” Mr. Rane said.

The minister said despite having made testing kits and tests available, the government does not want any train movement in Goa for the time being because it becomes difficult for a small State like Goa to handle the number of people arriving.

“We have drawn attention of the Centre that there are no hotels functional. If you look at the list, most people are from outside the State. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant is in the process of verifying the list, and has put up a case that for time being those who are not citizens of Goa, should not be allowed entry,” Mr. Rane said.

The CM said at a press conference that transport movement, however, cannot be stopped completely as a lot of essential goods are being ferried by road. “Screening of people coming to Goa will be increased. There are 720 on a train to Goa from Delhi and I have sought their list. We have requested the Railways to skip stations in Goa, if possible,” he said.

Mr. Sawant said the State government has received requests from 6,200 Goans who are currently in other parts of India and have sought permissions to come back. Besides, there are 8,211 seafarers and 3,842 Goans working aboard who have registered to return, he said.

The CM said over 3,000 Goans had already returned with permission from different parts of the country.

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