LETTER TO THE EDITOR FOR THE ISSUE DATED 19TH SEPTEMBER 2020

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR PRIME MINISTER!

SEVA SAPTAHA FOR PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA MODI: Clearly the PM has fans in Goa and they wished him happy birthday on September 17, 2020 in various ways along with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. As the birthday boy turned 71 years old a Seva Saptaha was held led by Panaji MLA Babush Monseratte, BJP Panaji Mandal president Shubam Chodankar and others who visited Mother Theresa Orphanage and Disha School for Special Children in Panaji with gifts to focus on Covid-19 precautions. Tree plantation was also undertaken and CCP Mayor Uday Madkaikar placed work orders for 301 water seal latrines single seaters. Needless to say all the dignitaries were suitably masked for the occasion.

RATES FOR PRIVATE CARE!

THE State government recently capped rates for treatment of Covid-19 in all private hospitals. As per new rates rent for a bed in a general ward will be Rs12,000 per day, private rooms on twin sharing basis Rs15,000, Rs18,000 for a single private room, while it is Rs25,000 for ICU bed with ventilator. It looks like the government is hell bent on taking advantage of a grim pandemic situation and looting Goans , knowing well most patients will find it hard to survive sitting at home during this crisis!
The government thinks it’s a big-shot bhatkar in a position to earn fortunes on properties, salaries, fixed deposits in banks, some hotels are charging more than Rs5,000 per night to tourists…but our government wants Goans to contact the contagion and admit themselves in private hospitals so that hospital and government may collect? It sounds like a big joke!
If the GMC and other government hospitals are providing the best of care (as claimed by Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant and Health Minsiter Vishwajit Rane in local and outstation media) then why are our politicians choosing to go to these private hospitals? Isn’t it because doctors from government hospitals habitually refer patients to private hospitals because they are hand in glove with doctors in private hospitals and it’s a way to make some easy money on the sly by misguiding patients?
A government which really cares for life of Goans would immediately take over private hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients at subsidized rates as it is happening in other states in the country! As it is more and more infected patients are choosing to stay at home to die rather than go to private hospitals which they can ill-afford despite the government’s best efforts to abdicate responsibility and responsibility.
—Jerry Fernandes, Saligao

ESCALATING COVID-19 CASES
WITH COVID-19 cases escalating by the day the government has to be extremely careful in its plans to even partially re-open schools. With lack of proper infrastructure to treat and manage the infection authorities need to tread very cautiously or we may reach further emergencies by putting the lives of students and teachers at risk. The economy and tourism must revive but priority has to be the health of the people which must not be compromised with. The focus of the government must take proper care of every patient during this raging pandemic and all efforts must be made to save life. Some politicians are keen to re-start casinos but in the prevailing situation it is wrong to gamble with the Covid-19 scenario.
—Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

MUST FOR COVID-19 VACCINES
AS we are on the verge of a breakthrough in vaccine development for Covid-19, it should be stressed that strict regulatory controls should be the norm all over the world, so that various vaccines being developed are effective and harmless as far as collateral side effects are concerned. In the quest for a vaccine a British-Swedish company has exercised ethical truthful openness in reporting that one of its participants developed a serious illness.
In fact, the revelation that one patient started showing signs of a rare and devastating neurological condition called transverse myelitis, and this is the second time someone on vaccine trial developed a central nervous system problem, it should lead to more rigorous testing so that the vaccine ultimately developed does no harm. These vaccines must pass stringent tests.
—Elvidio Miranda, Panaji

CITIZENS’ SOPs
WITH cases and deaths rising the government seems too have closed all Covid centres. Why? Because most centres are hotels and the tourist season is starting! Tourists are aware they control the government and happy to flout rules as reported in the newspapers. The government has no will to even enforce minimal SOPs like the wearing of masks. Along with broken bottles we shall soon see masks being littered everywhere as well!
Tourists must wear only three-layered washable cloth masks.
Hotels must rent out steel boxes to their guests. Any disposable masks should be deposited in it. After three days the same is to be couriered to the guest’s home on chargeable basis.
Hotels must provide their guests with disposable masks with hotel logo. If guest wishes to use their own the hotel name must be stamped on the same
Guests found not wearing masks on streets must be fined along with the hotel of stay.
Any masks littering around and the hotel should be fined. Guests roaming without masks bearing the hotel’s name should be fined.
Government should start a tourist sentinel scheme and awards given to anyone posting SOP violations! TTAG must take some responsibility.
All Industries must work with the one objective of preventing transmission of the Covid-19 contagion.
RT-PCR micro units are now in the market costing around just Rs7 lakh with capacity to test 10 samples per eight hours. GCCI/TTAG must ensure factories and hotels group together and purchase these units. They cannot shirk their responsibilities. Depending on the number of workers at Cutbona jetty, the required number of such units must be purchased by combined trawler owners.
This will be a big boon for comorbid people and significantly reduce deaths. All ISL teams are loaded with several crore worth of money saved from being taxed. All teams must have the Rs15 lakh RT micro PCR units. With test kits@ Rs1,500 players must be tested regularly.
It is surprising that MPT, Goa Shipyard, ONGC, Cipla, etc, manned by high profile leaders who consider locals unfit for employment have not started in house testing. It is evident, hard-working means shirking responsibility!
—R Fernandes, Margao

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