Goa’s complacency led to Covid-19 spike, says Governor after meeting with CM
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant came under the scanner with the Governor Satya Pal malik questioning the ‘error of judgment’ in not locking down Vasco da Gama, Goa’s port town which is now the epicentre of the spread of the virus in the state.Updated: Jul 16, 2020 20:27 IST
Goa governor Satya Pal Malik on Thursday discussed “shortfalls” of the state government in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic in an extensive meeting at the Raj Bhavan with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
In political circles, the meeting is being seen as a ‘run-in’ between the Governor and the Chief Minister over the handling of the pandemic.
Sawant, who is under fire from opposition parties as well as civil society, also came under the scanner with the Governor questioning the ‘error of judgment’ in not locking down Vasco da Gama, Goa’s port town which is now the epicentre of the spread of the virus in the state, and instead having to lock down the whole state after an exponential rise in the number of cases.
“I raised several issues during the meeting. Wherever they have done a good job, I commended, and where they have fallen short I have also pointed it out.
“Wherever there was a need like food supply, the quality of food, menu, the cleanliness of the Covid centres -- bathrooms are overflowing-- shortage of ambulances, whatever shortfalls were there were discussed. To a great extent, the health secretary has spoken and clarified what steps are being taken,” Malik said in comments to a local TV channel.
“The logic (reasoning) of comorbidities that was being offered (to explain the deaths) to say that because they had comorbidities they passed away, I said that they should be treated. Else a person may get treatment for one disease and die of another,” he added.
Malik said the government had become complacent that led to a spike in Covid-19 cases.
“As far as the tests are concerned, Goa is doing very well, management too is fine. But what happened here is that we became satisfied too early when we shouldn’t have. We relaxed the lockdown, and now when the cases are rising we are locking down again. When people were saying that Vasco should have been locked down, we didn’t do it. It has grown a lot and now we are doing it. There was an error of judgment,” Malik said.
The Governor had called the meeting with the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, Health Secretary and other officials following the rise in number of cases, deaths as well as reports in the media that the condition of the Covid care centres left a lot to be desired.
The Governor’s comments were in sharp contrast to what the Chief Minister said after he emerged from the meeting. Sawant claimed the Governor told them that he realized that he was misinformed through what he has seen in the media.
“He was getting wrong information from the media and social media and we have given him the right information. In fact he told us that what we are doing is very good. Social media, print media and electronic media is showing the wrong picture. That’s what he said. He said that the good side should be shown,” Sawant claimed.
But the Governor refuted the CM’s claims.
“It is definitely wrong to say that I have blamed the press. The issue of the press (coverage) didn’t come (during the meeting). I have definitely not criticized the press. The press is our strength, through which we get feedback and only then can we go forward. The CM has said that I have said this, but I haven’t. He shouldn’t have said that. I definitely didn’t say that,” Malik said.
This isn’t the first time that the Governor and the CM have differed. In May, Malik was forced to clarify as being “in bad taste” news reports which he said “portrays differences and divergences between him and the Chief Minister in handling the crisis.”
Goa which had brought down Covid-19 cases from seven to zero in the first week of May has seen a spike in cases of infections and deaths with a tally of nearly 3,000 cases and 19 deaths.