The Bombay High Court’s Goa bench on Tuesday ordered that no person will be allowed to enter the coastal state without a negative COVID-19 test report, except in cases of medical emergency.
The court slammed the administration for not implementing its earlier interim order fully and instead carving out an exception for local residents.
Following the court’s May 6 directive, administration of North Goa and South Goa districts issued orders last week making it mandatory for visitors to carry negative COVID-19 test reports while arriving.
But a bench of Justices Nitin Sambre and Mahesh Sonak, hearing a PIL on coronavirus situation, pointed out that the order applied to every person arriving in Goa, whether a visitor or local resident. Despite the unambiguous order, the two District Magistrates carved out exceptions in favor of local residents, those entering Goa for work and those carrying vaccination certificates, the judges noted.
“The District Magistrates…could not have by themselves modified our order,” the HC said.
Advocate General Devidas Pangam assured the court that by evening the orders would be amended.
The High Court said an exception can be made only for persons entering Goa for medical emergency on production of proof or those who are coming in an ambulance.
Otherwise, from Tuesday midnight the administration shall ensure that no person who does not possess a COVID negativity certificate based on a test done not more than 72 hours before enters the state, the court said.
It will hear the parties about the supply of medical oxygen on Wednesday and affidavits on “the actual position at the hospitals” will be necessary to understand the issue, it added.
The Dean of Goa Medical College and Director of Health Services will file affidavits, the advocate general said.
The affidavits should indicate “whether lack of oxygen supply continues to be the cause for any casualties”, said the judges.