The Weekend Leader - Barring tourists, fully vaccinated persons can enter Goa without negative test reports

Barring tourists, fully vaccinated persons can enter Goa without negative test reports



Photo: IANS

Barring tourists, all persons who have been fully vaccinated can enter Goa without producing Covid negative test reports, the Bombay High Court bench in Goa ruled on Monday.

The division bench comprising of Justices M.S. Jawalkar and M.S. Sonak also modified its previous order to facilitate the entry of fully vaccinated persons without production of a Covid negative certificate, as against the previous norm which allowed only persons with such certificates to enter the state.

Tourists will however have to continue to obtain Covid-19 negative certificates to enter Goa, even if they are fully vaccinated.

"We modify our order dated May 6, 2021 and permit entry to fully vaccinated persons, belonging to the undermentioned categories without such persons having a Covid negativity certificate," the High Court said in its order. The court is hearing a bunch of petitions which have sought its intervention to ensure smooth Covid management mechanisms in the state.

The court on Monday was hearing an application filed by the state government, which sought to modify the former's previous order which mandated that only those possessing negative test reports 72 hours prior, could enter the state.

The court observed that if the norm was done away in Goa and tourists were allowed without negative certificates, the Covid situation in the coastal state could worsen.

"The state will however have to evolve a suitable mechanism to ensure that the benefit of the exemptions is extended to only the exempted categories and not to others. This is imminently in the public interest just as any undue lowering of the guard, in the present circumstances is not. Normalcy will have to be restored depending on the situation, but there can be no scope for any undue complacency or laxity," the court stated in its order.

"The state should clarify whether it seeks entry of tourists or others not covered in the categories exempted above, in the state of Goa without COVID negativity certificate. So also, the Central government in the light of the experience it has gained from the reported incidents of rush at tourist places, to offer its say in this matter by filing an affidavit before the next date," the court said.

"This is because there were some reports of warnings issued by or on behalf of the Central government about the relaxation of COVID safety protocols in states where the tourist influx is substantial," it added.

The petition was filed after more than 80 persons died in the state due to oxygen shortage when the second wave of the pandemic peaked in May this year.-IANS

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