‘Tourists are welcome here, but...’: Himachal CM Thakur amid overcrowding at hill stations
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jairam Thakur on Friday appealed to the tourists arriving in the state to follow all coronavirus disease (Covid-19) protocols. “We are concerned about the number of tourists coming to the state. They are welcome here but I appeal to them to follow Covid-19 norms,” Thakur was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
For the past few days, scores of people have been flocking to tourist spots and hill stations across India including those in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand to beat the scorching heat of north India.
Underlining the fact that it is crucial to save the tourism industry, the Himachal Pradesh chief minister said on Friday that he held a virtual meeting with district officials and ordered them to monitor and regulate crowds, adding the Covid-19 disease pandemic is not over yet. “Hotels are being asked to follow SOPs,” Thakur further said.
Pictures and videos that emerged on social media platforms showed gross violation of Covid-19 protocols. Most people were seen without a mask and also defying physical distancing norms. The instances of overcrowding have led to fears that the upcoming third of the pandemic in the country might be more severe than earlier imagined.
On Friday, hundreds of tourists were seen without masks in Himachal Pradesh’s Dharamshala and social distancing went for a toss. The increasing number of tourists in the state has also posed a greater challenge for the government to ensure adherence of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour amid fears of the upcoming third wave of the pandemic.
Himachal Pradesh has so far recorded 203,245 cases and 3,486 deaths due to the Covid-19 disease till now. The recoveries are nearing 199,000 while the active cases stand at 1,307. Vaccination is currently suspended for beneficiaries between 18-45 years, which poses a risk of a massive spike in cases amid the overcrowding in tourist spots in the state.
(With ANI inputs)