Fully prepared to deal with any rise in Covid-19 cases, says Goa CM
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said asymptomatic patients are being admitted to the Covid-19 care centres with 1,500 beds.Updated: Jul 09, 2020 20:02 IST
Goa has reported a surge in Covid-19 cases after doing well initially in checking the spread of the pandemic. Pramod Sawant, the Goa chief minister, spoke toHT about the pandemic, and opposition to approval of infrastructure projects in the state. Edited excerpts:
Goa has low positivity and high testing rates compared to the national average and yet the cases are rising? What has gone wrong?
Our testing rate is very high compared to the rest of the country and the recovery rate is over 50% with 936 patients having recovered. We are providing very good treatment. Symptomatic patients are being admitted to the [dedicated] Covid-19 Hospital, which has a capacity for 250 patients. Asymptomatic patients are being admitted to the Covid-19 care centres with 1,500 beds. We are creating awareness about wearing face masks and everyone including me, our administrative staff, health department officials, and police department officials are in the field.
Is the government prepared for a bigger surge?
We are fully prepared. ...there are facilities [to deal with] any rise in the number of cases. We have a capacity of 2,500 [hospital beds] and if necessary, we will increase them. We have ventilator and ICU [intensive care unit] facilities which can also be increased. If required, we will establish one more Covid-19 hospital in the state.
The pandemic has hit Goa hard financially and forced it to go for unprecedented borrowing, (₹900 crore in the first quarter). How far have the austerity measures helped?
Only time will tell how much. We are taking austerity measures and have reduced expenditure of all departments.
How would you respond to criticism over clearance granted to three infrastructure projects, including a railway line double-tracking, in reserve forests?
This [railway] project was sanctioned by the earlier government. It came before us for the no-objection certificate (NOC). For the state’s development, we gave the NOC. ...all the mitigation measures like underpasses for wildlife, wherever required, would be implemented.
But now with the opposition mounting pressure, you also agreed to a resurvey...
It is always so. When any development [proposal] comes, people have questions. We are not doing a resurvey but [ascertaining] what exactly the facts are…
You inherited a cabinet, which included ministers senior to you. How have you been dealing with this?
No minister is putting any pressure on me. Everything is going well in coordination with all ministers. They all are supporting me in whatever work I am doing either in the Covid-19 management or in other matters. In coordination with the health minister, we are doing a very good job with the management. Besides 2-3 ministers, who are senior legislators, the others became MLAs [members of legislative assembly] along with me. I have a good working relationship with all [ministers].