The Bombay High Court at Goa on Monday modified its orders to allow persons who have been fully vaccinated to enter Goa without having to produce a Covid negative certificate. The order, however, stays for tourists who will continue to have to produce a Covid negative certificate even if they have been fully vaccinated.
The matter of allowing similar exemptions for tourists will be considered during the next hearing on August 5.
Hearing an application filed by the Goa government which sought modification of the court’s earlier orders, by which it was made mandatory to test negative 72 hours prior to entering the state, the high court bench of justices MS Sonak and MS Jawalkar said, “We modify our order dated 06.05.2021 and permit entry to fully vaccinated persons, belonging to the undermentioned categories without such persons having a Covid negativity certificate,” the high court ordered.
Among the categories of persons who will be excluded are those coming to the state for work, business, residents who have been stranded outside Goa because or the pandemic, and residents who are required to travel outside and return after a few days. The court said those who received the final dose of vaccine over two weeks ago and have not shown any symptoms of Covid will be considered fully vaccinated.
The high court also asked the state to work out a mechanism to ensure that only those falling in the above categories are granted the exemption.
The state government had initially proposed that all those who are fully vaccinated be exempted from having to produce a Covid negative certificate. However, the court pointed to the situation in states such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand with videos of people flocking to the tourist hot spots, raising an alarm among the administration.
“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. 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,” the bench said.