Sudden Spike In Covid-19 Cases; Goa Government Declares an Offshore Casino Micro Containment Zone after 31 Staffers Test Positive

 Uncertainty and gloominess continue with increasing risk arising from rising Covid-19 infections in India. In recent weeks, new Coronavirus cases have shot up in various parts of the country despite a roll-out of a nationwide vaccination drive. After Maharashtra and Delhi, it is Goa witnessing a sudden spike in Covid-19 cases. Taking note of the rising Covid-19 cases in Goa, the state has imposed section 144 of CrPC in North and South Goa districts, forbidding social gatherings. While Goa has canceled the popular Shigmo festival due to a spike in COVID-19 infections, several places where new Coronavirus cases have been reported have been declared containment zones and sealed off.

An offshore casino on the Mandovi river has been reported as the latest epicenter of the Covid-19 cases. According to the Media Reports, as many as 31 employees of the casino have tested positive.

State Health Minister Vishvajit Rane confirmed in the state legislative assembly that the offshore casino had been declared as a containment zone as a precaution for the safety of people.

Last week, the state epidemiologist and the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) in charge, Dr. Utkarsh Betodkar, wrote to North Goa collector Ajit Roy recommending him to declare the above-mentioned casino a micro-containment zone and seal its premises as a precaution.

Responding to this, Health Minister Vishvajit Rane clarified that the casino is being declared as a micro containment zone, and the staff is being moved out and will be tested periodically.

Goa Casino Scene After the Rise in Covid-19 Cases

Goa casino shutdown during the lockdown resulted in massive revenue loss. However, things started taking off when Goa casinos were allowed to resume operations on November 1, 2020. The casinos began with table games and cash games in the poker rooms. Recently, in the spotlight was India’s luxurious casino Deltin Royale that hosted the first live poker tournament series of the year, the DPT Xpress, from March 11 to 14. The series that brought live tournament poker back to Goa after a year-long hiatus proved to be a huge success with record-breaking turnouts across its all events.

After this hugely successful live poker tournament series, things once again seem to be topsy-turvy for the live poker in Goa.  Just last Thursday, Goa reported 189 positive cases in a single day – the highest single-day spike in three months. Taking note of the fresh breakout, the state administration has imposed section 144 of the CrPC in North and South Goa districts, forbidding public gatherings.

Not only that, but the government has also canceled this year’s Shigmo festival that was set to take place in the first week of April. Last week, Goa CM Pramod Sawant informed that the decision was taken to keep a check on gatherings. However, the government has allowed the traditional Shigmo festivities to be performed in temples under strict COVID-19 restrictions and safety measures.

As of date, Goa has reported a total of 57,712 COVID-19 cases, including 830 deaths. With another 127 new cases in the past 24 hours, the active COVID-19 cases now stand at 1,419. Looking at the fresh outbreak, the government is likely to impose more restrictions on public places like hotels, restaurants, and casinos. The government is even in the process of drafting new Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for COVID responsiveness to deal with the ongoing menace of the Covid-19.