Covid-19: Himachal Pradesh gets tough against overcrowding at tourist spots
Himachal Pradesh government has taken strong cognisance of the violation of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) protocol due to a huge influx of visitors. At a review meeting on Wednesday, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur directed deputy commissioners and superintendents of police to ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour at prominent tourist destinations.
There was public outrage after pictures and video emerged on social media of traffic congestion on the way to the popular sites like Manali and large a number of people - some maskless - visiting shopping districts with no social distancing.
Watch: Manali flooded with tourists, social media erupts with 3rd wave warning & memes
The Union health ministry warned on Tuesday that it can re-impose restrictions as Covid protocols are not followed by people who are travelling to the hill stations.
"The virus is still between us... one mistake can give the virus a chance to spread among us," senior health ministry official Lav Agarwal warned during a media briefing.
"People travelling to hill stations are not following Covid-appropriate behaviour. We can nullify the ease in restrictions again if protocols not complied with," he added.
Thakur too had said earlier this week that "we are anxious" as the tourist influx has increased in Himachal Pradesh.
"We welcome tourists but I urge them to follow Covid norms. They should follow social distancing and wear a mask. We have also directed hotels to follow SOP strictly," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Chief secretary Anil Kumar Khachi advised all the district collectors to enforce Covid appropriate behaviour and guidelines strictly.
Meanwhile, Uttarakhand has been witnessing a rapid rise in the inflow of tourists after it eased Covid-19 induced curbs in the state. Tourists have been gathering in Mussoorie, the popular hill station of the state, also called 'Queen of Hills', to beat the summer in north India.