In Goa, a southwestern Indian state, one in every two people tested is positive for COVID-19. This is the highest positivity rate ever recorded nationwide, and this statistic is based on only those who are tested, not the whole population, meaning there may be more individuals tested positive.
On Friday, Goa Health Minister Vishwajit P. Rane said that they reached their new and highest positivity rate of 51. 4%, and he believes that a total lockdown must take place. About 690,360 tests had been done in the state as of Friday, according to the state’s Press Information Bureau. “That is the need of the hour,” he said, adding the state’s chief minister was “seriously considering” a lockdown. “We have had issues of oxygen supply and other issues. We need to bring the positivity rate down. That’s the only way forward.” According to CNN, the infections have been on the rise for the past two weeks. The state collected data and concluded that there were more than 3,800 cases on a single day, Thursday. This has alerted the authorities and they are beginning to close down many public areas such as schools, bars, gyms, cinemas, and more. Additionally, CNN states that “the government has encouraged people to work from home, and imposed restrictions on capacity and opening hours on restaurants and shops”.
Rane says, “the state’s health system “is already overloaded… We’re doing everything possible… We’ve enhanced our testing facilities so that we don’t have to wait for someone to show symptoms to test.” The state is also attempting to get hands on genome sequencing equipment to determine what version of the virus is spreading so rapidly, and if variants might be spreading. Rane also says that infection rates of this strain are very high, which creates lots of problems.
Many experts believe that this surge was the result of lenient Covid restrictions during the winter. India’s first peak was during September, then it began to recede towards the end of the year. That’s why restrictions were not as strictly enforced. Inter-state travel opened again and it was as if people had gone back to their normal lives.
We can only hope that Goa’s case can get better, along with all the cases in the world.