In the southwestern Indian state of Goa, one in every two people tested is positive for Covid-19.
That makes it the state with the highest positivity rate nationwide, as the virus rips through the country. And that’s just among the people getting tested — meaning the rate of infection among the untested population may be higher. On Friday, the state hit a new record high positivity rate of 51.4%, said Goa Health Minister Vishwajit P. Rane — suggesting a total lockdown may be needed to contain the spread of the virus. About 690,360 tests had been done in the state as of Friday, according to the state’s Press Information Bureau. “That is the need of the hour,” he said, adding the state’s chief minister was “seriously considering” a lockdown. “We have had issues of oxygen supply and other issues. We need to bring the positivity rate down. That’s the only way forward.”
India’s second wave hit its major cities and populous states hard. Cases in the capital, New Delhi, began climbing in late March, accelerating rapidly in April — and as the virus spread from state to state, other parts of the country began to see their own surge in cases, sometimes weeks after the central hotspots. A tourist destination known for its beaches, Goa is home to about 1.5 million people — a figure which is likely to have increased since the last census in 2011. The state saw its uptick begin in early April, as Delhi was already struggling — but infections rose exponentially over the past two weeks. Goa recorded more than 3,800 cases on Thursday, its highest daily figure so far. The spike has raised alarm among authorities as they prepared for the type of calamity unfolding in other states. Schools, bars, gyms, cinemas, and other public spaces are closed, and political and social gatherings are banned. The government has encouraged people to work from home, and imposed restrictions on capacity and opening hours on restaurants and shops.