Goa to charge fee for COVID-19 tests from those entering state
Panaji, May 17: Amid a spurt in coronavirus positive cases, the Goa government on Sunday decided to charge Rs 2,000 for COVID-19 testing per person entering the state.
The State Executive Committee (SEC), led by State Chief Secretary Parimal Rai, is responsible for overseeing the COVID-19 management and relief work in the state.
During a meeting held on Sunday, the committee took stock of the COVID-19 situation in the state, where the number of positive cases has gone up to 16.
"After the recent positive cases emerging amongst the travellers, the SEC decided that the practice of testing every person entering Goa needs to continue," a state government spokesperson said.
The SEC discussed the issue of charging people for the cost of testing, he said.
"After deliberations, the SEC directed the Inter-state Movement Cell of Goa to convey to the Railways and other authorities that any traveller arriving in Goa will have to go through compulsory testing and fee of Rs 2,000 per person will be charged for testing, irrespective their of mode of transport," he said.
However, those covered under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana or under any other exempted category, like on duty government staff, will not have to pay, the spokesperson added.
"Director of the Department of Information Technology said that 17,085 people have moved out of the state, while 2,129 have entered since April 29," he said.
The SEC also discussed about the evacuation of foreign nationals, who are stranded in the state. During the meeting, the Nodal Officer (Foreigners) said that till May 14, as many as 7,352 foreigners have left Goa in 36 special flights, he said.
According to the spokesperson, the SEC also directed the Inter-State Movement Cell to send bulk SMS to all incoming travellers, asking them to fill up the self declaration form and download Aarogya Setu app.
Arrangements may also be made, if required, to make available these forms in paper format at the railway stations or inside the trains, he said.