The decision of the state government to the testing of people entering into Goa is not correct and it won’t help in controlling the COVID infection spread in Goa claims the Goa State Tourism body TTAG (Travel Trade Association of Goa)
In view of the surge of Covid cases in neighboring states, several Goan bodies have urged the state government to commence testing of the tourists entering the state.
But in response, the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa said that testing the visitors will not be the proper solution for the problem. Reasoning their statement, TTAG said that the state would not be able to carry out enough tests for around 8000 visitors daily arriving in Goa due to the lack of infrastructure.
“I don’t know if checks or asking people to travel with a Covid-negative certificate will really help. Even in October and November, when cases were high, we did not have restrictions,” President of TTAG, Nilesh Shah said.
TTAG further explained that instead of testing visitors at their arrival to the state, the government must make necessary SOPs for the locals to follow and penalize the violators accordingly.
While compared to the neighboring states, covid cases in Goa are still on the low side, Goa CM said that the risk of a sudden surge in cases is still prevalent. Chief minister Pramod Sawant said that the government does not have any plans to impose any restrictions presently.
The TTAG had earlier demanded the government to install signboards in public places to warn people, specifically tourists, that they would face action if they do not wear masks and maintain social distancing. But nothing has been initiated from the government’s side to date.
Commenting on the matter of checking visitors entering the state at borders, a health official revealed that checking at borders is not practically easy. Besides having the required manpower deployed to do the work, it has to be seen that people are not left waiting in a queue for hours.
CM Sawant said that hotels should refer their guests for testing if suspected to have symptoms and more than having border restrictions, the emphasis has to be on ensuring that people follow Covid appropriate behavior.
According to TTAG the testing of visitors can damage the already struggling tourism industry of the state. “We have had a sluggish February. Hotels are struggling to stay afloat. With Covid infections rising in other states automatically footfalls will go down,” added the TTAG President.