While the whole country is going through a much dangerous second wave of the pandemic, Goa is also gradually seeing a rise in the daily cases and deaths, raising alarm among all. But the reports indicate that the North side of the state, particularly the coastal belt, is seeing a higher rise of cases than the southern part of the state.
With 1166 cases, the commercial capital of Goa, Margao is the worst hit by the second wave of COVID 19. The party capital of Goa, Candolim-Calangute is the second worst hit with exactly 1000 cases as on April 23, 2021 while the fastest developing satellite town Porvorim is the third in place with 942 new cases.
The Capital city of Panaji and North Goa Commercial Capital Mapusa have 685 and 655 cases respectively while Ponda has 543 active cases. Vasco, which saw major mortalities and cases during the first phase of COVID19 has 693 active cases as of now.
A major reason for these figures is the nightlife, parties, clubs and casinos in North Goa. Almost all the major nightclubs of the state are operating in North Goa. While many of these casinos were closed in the early days of the lockdown period, gradually they opened their doors to tourists with the relaxation of laws. The month of December saw flocks of tourists gathering at these casinos which might obviously have given the way for the spread of the virus.
Also North Goa is very famous among locals as well as foreigners for its nightlife including clubs and bars. The whole stretch of Candolim, Baga, Calangute is full of clubs and bars which gets full all around the year. With social distancing norms being thrown to the wind at clubs and restaurants, parties are happening on weekends in Morjim, Baga and everywhere.
It is a free-for-all. People are seen dancing in clubs without masks. On New Year’s Eve and most recently during Holi these clubs were full of partygoers, dancing, drinking and enjoying without not even giving a second thought.
Another reason for the high case rate in North Goa is the populated beaches in the area. While all the beaches in Goa are equally beautiful and picturesque, North Goan beaches see more dense crowds than the South Goan beaches. Beaches like Calangute, Baga, Anjuna has more crowds coming in than their southern counterparts. This has led to the spread of the virus as tourists from all parts of the world are flocking together and mingling with each other.
Moreover due to the lockdowns in Mumbai, the film city of the country, many production houses have moved to Goa to complete their projects. Major TV serials and films are being shot in Goa, particularly in urban cities like Panjim, Anjuna, Calangute in North Goa due to their high infrastructure facilities. This also has led to the increase of cases in North Goa as hundreds of crew members and cast are being entering the state without following proper SoPs.
A study conducted by Goa Medical College’s (GMC) department of preventive and social medicine showed that North Goa’s coastal belt has emerged as the state’s main Covid-19 hotspot, with Baga and Calangute being classified as “very high risk areas”.
The study on Covid-19 cases and emerging patterns show that Covid-19 hotspots shot up from 130 to 179 locations in a single day, predominantly along the beach belt in Bardez where “partying and tourism is going on”.
At the moment, these three North Goa beach villages are recording hordes of long-staying tourists and work-from-home professionals, who have come over in the last few months, in wake of the pandemic. The study conducted by the Goa Medical College, has also identified urban hubs like Porvorim and St. Inez, both suburbs of Panjim, and Mapusa, under the same category. They have further been coded pink in the study, administered in North Goa districts.
Amidst all these, considering the increasing cases in the state ,the state government imposed a night curfew from 10 pm to 6 am till 30 April. Also all restaurants, bars, casinos and cinema halls will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity only.