Covid negative report, vaccination mandatory for Bengal tourist destinations
Authorities have made it mandatory for tourists to carry either RT-PCR negative test reports or Covid-19 vaccine certificates for stays in hotels at popular beach destinations such as Digha and Mandamani in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur district
“We issued a notice on Monday directing hotels not to allow tourists if they do not carry either Covid-19 test reports issued 48 hours earlier or certificates of Covid-19 vaccination,” said AM Hirani, an official in Purba Medinipur.
The move comes following the Indian Council of Medical Research and Union health ministry’s warnings against complacency amid the waning second Covid-19 wave. The warnings came amid a rush of tourists to places such as Manali, Kullu, Shimla, and Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.
Tourists have also started flocking to popular beach destinations in South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore as West Bengal relaxed some of the Covid-19 restrictions.
“The crowds have again started swelling in some of the popular beach destinations. The state-run hotels are almost full on the weekends. At Bakkhali in South 24 Parganas, another beach destination, there no rooms are available in the coming weekend, at the state-run tourist lodge,” said a tourism department official.
Bipradas Chatterjee, joint secretary of Digha Hoteliers Association, said, “Times are tough due to the pandemic situation. We would, however, follow the government rules. We will have a meeting of our association members to discuss the issue.”
Authorities earlier issued a similar direction for tourists visiting Birbhum, where some popular tourist destinations and important religious sites are located.
“Initially, we issued instructions that tourists coming to Santiniketan, Kankalitala and Tarapith would need to carry Covid negative RT-PCR test reports or certificates of double vaccine doses. Rapid antigen kiosks were also set up to test tourists not carrying the documents. Later, hotels were also directed not to allow any tourists without these documents,” said a Birbhum district official.
The Covid-19 cases during the second wave of the pandemic peaked in the state on May 14 (20,846). The cases have since come down steadily and dropped to 885 on July 12. The number of deaths dropped to 11 on July 12 compared to 136 on May 14.