GOA Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced on April 19 that all seven COVID-19 positive cases in the State had been discharged and that the State was now “COVID free”. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s (MoHFW) coronavirus tracker confirmed that there were no deaths in the State as of April 21 and that all quarantined people were out of danger. Opposition party members and even some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Ministers, however, said it was too soon to declare the State a safe or green zone.
Goa Congress and Goa Forward leaders alleged that the testing in the State fell under the rapid testing procedure, which is not entirely accurate. Also, once the government lifts the lockdown and opens the borders the situation could change drastically since Goa has borders Maharashtra and Karnataka. Maharashtra has the highest number of positive cases and deaths.
Some 200 Goan seafarers have been given clearance to disembark from three ships. Every precaution is being taken to ensure the men are quarantined before they return to their families, Sawant said.
Goa Forward leader Vijay Sardesai said: “The government can declare Goa COVID-free only when they have done enough testing as per the scientific standards mandated and acceptable to experts.”
Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar said the State government had not conducted the tests properly and rushed into declaring the State COVID-19 free without proper data. “The CM is boasting of covering 5 lakh houses in just 3 days with 7,000 surveyors. That is not physically possible,” he said.
Sawant initially issued tough instructions such as closing all stores including grocery shops and not allowing a single truck to enter the State. These directives threw the State into chaos and created a massive food crisis, which normalised only after two weeks.