Testing has been ramped up in areas of community transmission

Interview/ Dr Pramod Sawant, chief minister, Goa


Q/ How is the Covid-19 situation in Goa now?

A/ Currently, there are 716 active cases in Goa [as on June 30]. Of the 1,315 people who tested positive so far, 45 per cent have recovered. Three deaths have been reported. These were patients with comorbidities.

Q/ Community transmission has begun in the state. How do you plan to redesign your containment strategies?

A/ It has come to our notice that community transmission has begun in the state. Testing has been ramped up in presumed areas of community transmission. We have also redrawn the containment and micro-containment zone maps. People who test positive are being admitted to Covid-19 care centres.

Q/ How is the state dealing with the crisis​?

A/ We have a dedicated 250-bed Covid-19 hospital. By converting hotels into Covid-19 care centres, we have added 1,500 beds to our existing capacity. Besides these, we have institutional quarantine centres as well.

Q/ Goa is the first Indian state to blend ayurveda with allopathy to tackle Covid-19.

A/ Ayurveda is good for boosting immunity. People in containment zones are being given ayurvedic immunity-booster dose, as per AYUSH guidelines. That said, for people admitted in Covid-19 hospitals, we offer allopathic treatment only. We follow the Indian Council of Medical Research guidelines.

Q/ Does Goa welcome tourists now?

A/ Hotels and home stays have not resumed operations, yet. But we hope to welcome tourists within a short span of time.

Q/ What is the financial commitment of the Centre to states like Goa?

A/ States across the country have been affected by the pandemic. The Centre has provided us financial and infrastructural support.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan packages offer financial assistance for the poor. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced 020 lakh crore economic relief package. Another package for labourers has also been announced by the government. Besides all these, the Centre has allowed us to use the mineral fund deposited with the state government to deal with the pandemic. That is a great relief for us.

Q/ How has the pandemic affected the tourism and mining sectors?

A/ The mining sector has not been affected much as transportation was allowed. But tourism has been hit hard—100 per cent loss has been reported in this sector.

However, we managed to support the pharma and food industries even during Lockdown 1. Now, all the industries [except tourism] are running at 90 per cent of capacity.

Q/ How are you providing support to people who lost their livelihood?

A/ It is challenging. We are exploring ways to help farmers and those in the travel and tourism, and mining industries.

Q/ What are the learnings from the pandemic?

A/ We need to come up with vaccines and immunity-booster doses to fight the infection. As the chief minister of Goa, I believe it is a great opportunity to master the lost art of self-reliant living. Our youth are practising lessons of self-reliance in their farms. We are looking at ways to export more and import less.