Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik described Goa as ‘coronavirus-free’ on Sunday, despite there being 38 active cases in the coastal state as he talked about how soon the tourism industry return to its feet.
“Goa is ‘corona-free’ so domestic tourists will come here. This is not a long term loss to the industry,” he said. “It will take time for foreign tourists to return but they too will come,” he added.
Goa’s active cases dropped to 38 on Friday as nine patients- five of one family recovered from the deadly virus.
Out of 542 samples collected for testing on Friday, 513 were negative and results of 16 are awaited. Reportedly, seven of the suspects were placed in isolation while 873 were placed in facility quarantine. So far, no death has been reported from the state.
Meanwhile, the domestic airlines are set to resume operations from Monday and tourists are expected to come. However, the state awaits standard operating procedure (SOPs) and guidelines from the centre on how to handle testing and quarantine for those entering the state.
Earlier, on May 2, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had said that Goa would open its doors to tourists after Lockdown 3.0 ended on May 17, provided central government guidelines permit.
Sawant also said that the state would request the Centre for a bailout package for the tourism industry which he said was the worst-hit by the coronavirus crisis.
With mining in Goa already prohibited, the closure of tourism in view of the coronavirus scare has adversely affected the state's economy. Tourism accounts for nearly 30 per cent of the state's Gross Domestic Product, news agency IANS reported.
Goa's famed beaches and major tourist attractions stand virtually deserted ever since the lockdown was imposed in March.
During the last tourism season from October to May, Goa attracted more than seven million tourists, including more than half a million foreigners, the IANS report said.