The positivity rate of Covid-19 cases in the Indian state of Goa has risen to 51.4%, Goa's health minister, Vishwajit P. Rane, told CNN, linking a spike in infections to holidaymakers and lax Covid restrictions.
The state, famous with tourists for its beaches, reported 3,869 new cases on Thursday, and is one of many parts of the country struggling to slow down a devastating second wave of the virus. Goa's total number of cases stands at 108,267, including 1,501 deaths.
Rane attributed the spike to a combination of lax restrictions and an influx of domestic tourists from the start of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in November up until February.
“As you are aware, there were no restrictions of any kind and that is something we should have looked into at that point of time," he told CNN.
"Goa was one of the most favored destinations and people used to come and we found that people were not following the SOPs and protocols."
“Everybody was taking things for granted. No one was following social distancing. Masks are something that you cannot do away with. I’ve also said (on Twitter) that super-spreader events should be stopped … Sometimes you feel if things had been implemented at that point of time, we would not have had this situation.”
Authorities are now "seriously considering" a lockdown, Rane said.
“That is the need of the hour. If we aren’t able to put in more stringent measures, we won’t be able to slow down the spread of the virus and there will be too much pressure on the health system, which is already overloaded," he told CNN on Friday.
Goa imposed a four-day lockdown on April 29, according to CNN affiliate News18. After the lockdown lifted on May 3, non-essential business have been ordered to remain closed and political and social gatherings are also banned.