Travel Blog 2021

 

Corovavirus COVID-19


  • April 21st 2021: A mini lockdown starts with a 22:00 to 06:00 night curfew which is due to end on the 30th of April.

    Restaurants, bars, gyms and cinemas can continue business but only at 50% capacity, as can casinos but the latter are not subject to the curfew timings as long as customers arrive before 22:00 (I'm not sure how they were expected to get home from the casinos).

  • April 29th 2021: A new lockdown announced, initially to end on the 3rd of May.

    With immediate effect a 19:00 to 06:00 night curfew starts. Restaurant kichens can stay open but only for home deliveries or collection of pre-ordered meals. Casinos are closed along with bars. No public transport. Only shops selling essential foods (mini markets or vegetable stalls) and essential businesses are allowed to continue trading.

    On this day I also got my second Covishield jab, following the first that I had on the 18th of March. Total cases in India top 19 million.

  • May 2nd 2021: Just when everybody thought that we'd been given a reprieve, at the end of the working day it was announced that the lockdown would be extended until 06:00 on the 10th of May.

  • May 3rd 2021: According to www.worldometers.info the statistics are:

    World: Cases -153 million. Deaths per 1 million population - 413
    USA: Cases -33 million. Deaths per 1 million population - 1,777
    India: Cases -20 million. Deaths per 1 million population - 159

    In fairness, USA have conducted six times as many tests as India though so these figures are far from conclusive.

  • May 7th 2021: It is announced that as from 9th of May there will be a full lockdown. The saving grace being that shops selling essential items will be allowed to open from 07:00 to 13:00 and restaurants can sell takeaway meals from 07:00 to 19:00.

    Over the past week all records seem to have been broken on the COVID-19 front with Goa being India's worst affected state and Calangute (5 miles from where I live) the worst affected area. Reports claim that as many as 50% of people being tested are giving positive results.

    Statistics are similar to the 3rd of May except there are now 2 million more cases in India. Goa has recorded over one million cases to date.

  • May 9th 2021: It all starts here. The streets are like a ghost town and the restaurants offering "order and collect meals", pharmacies and shops are the only places doing business.

  • May 11th 2021: I discover that whilst on annual vacation one of the security staff at the complex where I live has contracted COVID-19.

    Shops seem to be working without any problems and are selling some non-essential goods like kitchen utensils and alcohol. The general concensus appears to be "if it's on the shelf you can buy it" unlike last years lockdown where sections of shops were cordoned off and there were big queues outside vegetable stalls and mini-markets.

  • May 12th 2021: Goa records 2,865 new cases and new deaths in one day.

  • May 14th 2021: indiatoday.in reports that there have been 74 deaths due to lack of oxygen in Goa Medical College and Hospital over the previous four days.

    As an indication as to how the whole situation is spiraling out of control in India, campare these statistics with the 3rd of May.

    According to www.worldometers.info the statistics are:

    World: Cases -162 million. Deaths per 1 million population - 431
    USA: Cases -33.6 million. Deaths per 1 million population - 1,799
    India: Cases -24 million. Deaths per 1 million population - 189

    Whilst the cases have risen by 25% in India as others have remained as close to static as could be wished for, the saving grace is that the death rate in India is very low compared with other countries.

  • May 16th 2021: As if Goa didn't have enough to contend with Cyclone Tauktae hit.

    Two are left dead, scores homeless and more than 500 trees are reported as being downed. I'm sure the real figure was much higher though as about a dozen felled in the land adjoining the complex where I live alone and one large tree inside the complex was uprooted and found a new home in our recently renovated swimming pool. Power was lost throughout the North of Goa due to downed electricity cables and poles.

  • May 20th 2021: Electricity was restored at 08:00 albeit at a reduced rate as the lights continually flickered.

    May 21st 2021: It is announced that the lockdown is to be extended until the 31st of May. COVID-19 cases in India have risen to over 26 million.

  • May 29th 2021: It is announced that the lockdown is to be extended until the 7th of June.

  • June 5th 2021: It is announced that the lockdown is to be extended until the 14th of June. Key highlights:

    Timings for essential shops as defined will be increased from 7 am to 3 pm.

    Shops related to house/building repairs, monsoon preparedness, or rain protection will be allowed to open.

    According to www.worldometers.info the statistics are:

    World: Cases -174 million. Deaths per 1 million population - 481
    USA: Cases -34.2 million. Deaths per 1 million population - 1,841
    India: Cases -29 million. Deaths per 1 million population - 252

    COVID-19 deaths in India stand at over 350,000.

  • June 10th 2021: It is announced that the lockdown is to be extended until the 21st of June.

  • June 13th 2021: It is announced that Goa will not reopen to tourists until the entire population of the state has had their first COVID-19 vaccination. The report went on to advise that they aimed to achieve this by the 31st of July.

  • June 19th 2021: It is announced that the lockdown is to be extended until the 28th of June.

  • June 26th 2021: It is announced that the lockdown is to be extended until the 5th of July.

  • June 30th 2021: The ban on international flights is extended until 30th August.

  • July 2nd 2021: It is announced that the lockdown is to be extended until the 12th of July. Shop timing relaxed to allow opening from 07:00 until 18:00 and the state government has allowed the saloons (however they may be defined) and outdoor sports complex, stadiums to open this time.

  • July 11th 2021: It is announced that the lockdown is to be extended until the 19th of July.

  • July 18th 2021: It is announced that the lockdown is to be extended until the 26th of July.

  • July 22nd 2021: It is declared that 80% of people eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Goa have received their first dose. I'm not sure how relevant this is as I have spoken to several Goans under 45 years of age who claim they are not "eligible" and most of the Europeans I know simply don't want the jab. Furthermore, they have not been contacted.

  • July 25th 2021: It is announced that the lockdown is to be extended until the 2nd of August.

  • August 1st 2021: It is announced that the lockdown is to be extended until the 9th of August.

  • August 8th 2021: It is announced that the lockdown is to be extended until the 16th of August.

    Tourists are allowed to enter the state only if they are full vaccinated or carrying a negative RT-PCR report

    Around this time bars were allowed to open until 23:00. Casinos remain closed and further updates on the lockdown seem to come and go without notification.

  • September 3rd 2021: High court decision to allow people, including tourists, to enter Goa without an RT-PCR report if they are fully vaccinated.

  • September 13th 2021: It is announced that the lockdown is to be extended until the 20th of August.

    The extension allows almost all economic operations at 50% capacity.

  • September 13th 2021: The Goa government issued a five-day mandatory institutional quarantine for students and staff of Goa-based businesses arriving from Kerala. The district administrations of both North and South Goa issued orders requiring those arriving from Kerala to present a negative RT-PCR report.

    The extensions of stay have become much more low key as far as media is concerned and continue on a weekly basis until:

  • October 15th 2021: It is announced that India will reopen it's borders to tourists. Initially to travellers on charter flights only and followed on November 15th by tourists irrespective of whether it's by charter or schedule.

    All existing tourist visas issued before October 6th 2021 remain suspended and new tourist visas are valid for 30 days single entry only.

  • October 22nd 2021: The monthly/bi-monthly tourist extensions of stay applications are granted as per the norm but with the proviso that the tourist must exit India no later than 30th November.

    With the national borders closed to incoming tourists this means that the exit will in effect be "goodbye to long stay tourism" until further advised.

    My intentions at this point are unclear due to the lack of accessibility to destinations like Bali and Thailand but my initial plan is: Mexico is still an option with a gateway to Central America but more likely is:

    Christmas in Jersey, Fly to Mexico where I'll stay until May. Fly to Vancouver for a week and do the whole Rocky Mountaineer train trip thing. Next stop Iceland where I intend staying five days and then fly to London to renew my Indian Visa if that's possible. From thereon in I may fly to Bali or Thailand if they're open to tourism. I would then return to Goa in November but there's a whole lot of maybes along the way.

 

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