Goa will not open for tourism until the state fully administers the first vaccine shot to its population, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said in a major policy announcement on Thursday.

CM Sawant also said that the Goa government was aiming at 100 percent coverage of the first vaccination shot by July 30. "There is no plan to start tourism until the first vaccination dose is completed. Our target is to complete it by July 30," he told reporters on the sidelines of a private function.

The Goa government's ongoing Tika Utsav 3.0 is aimed at 100 percent coverage of the first vaccine shot for all adults in the state.

CM Sawant, who met tourism industry stakeholders earlier this week also said that any decision related to opening up tourism would be taken only after July 30. The tourism industry stakeholders in their memorandum to the Chief Minister had called for strict enforcement of protocol for entry to Goa, quarantine centres for tourists, and putting off high-capacity events like electronic dance music festivals till March 2022.

The Goa tourism industry stakeholders had said this is to "rebuild the image of Goa to all tourists".

Meanwhile, Goa Chief Minister had also announced that the state will allow walk-in registrations for the 18-44 age group during a COVID-19 vaccination drive beginning June 13. The state has reported over 1.6 lakh COVID cases and over 2,900 coronavirus-related deaths.

Due to the COVID-19 situation in the state, the curfew in Goa was also recently extended till June 21. "Shops, including in panchayat and municipal markets, may open between 7 am to 3 pm. Marriage function with up to 50 persons have been permitted...," the CM had said on Twitter.

(With inputs from IANS)

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