Uttarakhand: 8,000 tourists on their way to Mussoorie and Nainital sent back
The Uttarakhand Police sent back 8,000 tourists from Mussoorie and Nainital over the weekend to prevent overcrowding during the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. The police have also set up border checkposts to regulate the flow of people visiting the popular tourist destinations.
"After videos went viral of huge crowds bathing in Kempty falls, the Uttarakhand government has taken steps to control the number of tourists. People have been given notices to carry negative RT-PCR reports and register on the online portal," said Uttarakhand Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Nilesh Anand Bharane.
He further appealed to people to consider other places like Bhimtal, Ranikhet and Landsdowne and not gather at one or two places.
This comes amid concerns of Covid protocol violations at hill stations as state governments gradually lift lockdown restrictions.
The Uttarakhand government has instructed district magistrates to control the weekend crowd in all tourists places. The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were issued by chief secretary Sukhbir Singh Sandhu on Monday.
"If the situation worsens in the tourist places of Uttarakhand now, then the District Magistrate will be responsible. They have been authorized to take the decisions regarding the crowds on weekends," the guidelines released by the state government said.
The DMs has been empowered to decide the percentage of tourists at a place based on its geographical conditions and the administration's capacity for crowd control.
The district magistrates will also ensure strict action against those who violate the rules, the Uttarakhand government said in its order.
As per the SOPs, all persons coming from outside the state will be allowed entry only with a negative report of RT-PCR, True Net, CBNET, or Rapid Antigen Test of a maximum period of 72 hours.
The Uttarakhand government has extended the Covid curfew in the state till July 20. A cap of 50 people has also been imposed for weddings and funerals.
As per the union health ministry, there are currently 932 active Covid-19 cases in Uttarakhand. As many as 3,32,957 recoveries and 7,341 deaths have been reported in the state so far.