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Shut down Goa casinos amid increase in Covid cases: AAP

IANS | November 23, 2020 03:21 PM

PANAJI: Amid reports of more than a dozen persons testing positive for Covid-19 in Goa's offshore casinos, the Aam Aadmi Party on Monday demanded the closure of the industry, fearing an increase in novel coronavirus in the state.

Addressing a press conference in Panaji on Monday, Goa Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Surel Tilve said, if the rush to the state's casinos is not controlled, the state may witness a second wave of infections.

"It is already difficult to control the flow of tourists to Goa's casinos. It is getting out of control. Covid-19 cases in casinos have also increased. The government is just trying to appease the lobby by allowing this trend to continue, " Tilve told a press conference in Panaji.

"We fear that if the chaos continues, Goa may witness a second Covid-19 wave sooner than later, " Tilve said. Goa has a confirmed tally of 46, 826 positive cases, while 677 persons have died in the state after testing positive for Covid-19.

Goa's state capital Panaji, off which most of the offshore casinos are anchored in the Mandovi river, witnessed chaos over the weekend with thousands of tourists making a beeline for casinos without maintaining social distancing norms and wearing masks.

The melee even forced Panaji MLA Atanasio Monserrate to step out onto the streets with local municipality officials in tow, in a bid to manage the traffic chaos as well as fine casino visitors for not wearing masks.

When asked about the increase in Covid-19 cases detected in Goa's casinos, the BJP MLA said: "You can ask the Chief Minister that because he has permitted the casinos to open".

Casino operations, which were shut down in Goa in March due to the pandemic, restarted operations from November 1 this year. There are six offshore and around 10 onshore casinos operating in the state.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has directed that all casinos should follow both the state as well as the Central government SOPs on resumption.

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