News Karnataka
Monday, December 05 2022

Covid infection rate in Goa has risen from 1.8% to 3.5%: CM

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Panaji: The Covid infection rate in the state has almost doubled from 1.8 per cent to 3.5 per cent, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Friday December 24, expressing concern about the increase.

He also said the Goa government is in the process of procuring genome sequencing machinery within one month for prompt assessment of suspect Omicron cases.

“We are very concerned that the positivity rate from 1.8 per cent has gone up to 3.5 per cent. This is a serious thing and hence, people should take all precautions. Our advisory will be issued but people should not go to any crowded places without masks. As far as possible, all functions should be in open spaces and functions should not be organised in AC halls.

“We have not introduced any restrictions for now being a tourist season and festive season and Christmas is celebrated in a big way in Goa, but the celebration should be with precautions,” Sawant said after a meeting of the state government’s task force on Covid management.

“There was a meeting of the task force. We specially discussed about the Omicron virus. The first decision is that we have approved the establishment of a genome sequencing machine at the GMC. By Monday, Tuesday, we will source the machine and place an order and within a month, we will set it up. It is a machine needed to test for the Omicron virus,” he said.

Sawant also said that a total of 28 suspect Omicron samples had been sent to a Pune-based Central government laboratory for tests so far.

“Eight were found positive with the Delta virus. So far none have tested for the Omicron variant. 19 reports are still pending. That’s why we have taken the decision to get the genome sequencing machine here,” he said.

The Chief Minister also said that there were around 3,500 foreign tourists in Goa and Health Department officials were trying to keep in touch with them during their stay in Goa.

“We are trying to keep in touch with them (during their stay here) but some of them… their mobiles are not reachable. So we are issuing an advisory for the general public from the Health Department and Tourism Department. For foreign tourists taking an RT-PCR test after eight days, so we have asked the hotels they are staying in, to get them tested at the nearest health centre,” Sawant said.

“Those who have not done it yet, the hotels have to insist that they get it done. If it is positive, then they have to get genome sequencing done and have to visit the GMC for further investigation. We will send the samples to NIV (National Institute of Virology) in Pune for genome sequencing. The Health Department is alert to this and is doing its work.”

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