Other States

Goa extends helping hand to stranded foreign visitors

Homeward bound: A group of Russian tourists waits at the Goa airport before their special evacuation flight to Moscow on Tuesday. Special Arrangement

Homeward bound: A group of Russian tourists waits at the Goa airport before their special evacuation flight to Moscow on Tuesday. Special Arrangement  

Relief flights take hundreds home, others get food, essential supplies from the police

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and the resultant 21-day lockdown, Goa is doing all it can for the 1,000-plus tourists stranded in the coastal State.

As the sixth relief flight with 133 Russians left for Moscow on Tuesday, taking the number of evacuated foreign tourists to 930, the Goa Police put out videos showing its personnel providing supplies to tourists from the U.K. The tourists, who have been stranded without provisions at Palolem beach, 90 km from Panaji, had made a distress call to the police.

The police have also been providing cooked food to construction labourers stranded across the State.

The Foreigner Regional Registration Office in Goa has received applications from over 1,000 people seeking an extension of stay during the lockdown period. Most of these foreigners have been in the State since September 2019.

For those wanting to head back home, the Indian government is in touch with their respective countries. A special nodal officer has also been appointed to ensure that this process is smooth. Between Monday night and early Tuesday morning, a special flight carrying 317 tourists from Germany and other EU countries took off for Frankfurt.

Officials said that despite the skeletal staff in attendance, operations at Goa airport, led by director Gagan Malik, were under way round the clock. Several other tourists will be leaving the State after April 5.

Quarantine update

Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant said there was no new case of COVID-19 in the State on Tuesday, adding that nine people had been put under home quarantine. Eight others, who were contacts of previous patients, had been sent to quarantine facilities, while 16 suspected patients were put under hospital isolation on Tuesday.

Dr. Sawant said the newly set up COVID-19 testing laboratory at the Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMC-H), Bambolim, could not start conducting tests as pathologists faced some technical issues. The problems are being resolved with the help of doctors and private pathologists.

“Today, 62 samples had to be forwarded to Pune for testing. Fixing the issue is our priority,” the Chief Minister said. Of the six samples sent for testing to Pune on Monday, four were negative while reports of two were awaited. A total 106 people are under quarantine in government hospitals.

Health Minister Viswajit Rane clarified that samples were sent to Pune to ensure there was no backlog in testing. “We are trying to streamline the process. Four tests have been conducted during the day and more will be done overnight,” he said.

Dr. Sawant held a meeting with the officials of the Public Works, Municipal Administration, Panchayat, Waste Management, Fire and other departments with regards to a cleanliness drive.

Appeal to pvt. doctors

The CM also appealed to private doctors to start operating their clinics after taking all precautions. “If they find symptoms of coronavirus then these cases can be referred to the State-run GMC-H,” he said.

He told reporters that over 80 trucks had crossed the Goa border from Belagavi in Karnataka, bringing vegetables, groceries and fruits.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 7:06:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/goa-extends-helping-hand-to-stranded-foreign-visitors/article31222545.ece

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