In the wake of an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases, the Himachal Pradesh government on Sunday announced new restrictions in the state which mandate a negative RTPCR report for visitors coming from seven states that have a high Covid caseload.
Visitors coming from Punjab, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh will be required to show a negative RTPCR report, not older than 72 hours.
The new orders will come into force from April 16, after ‘Himachal Day’ which is an event to mark the 50th year of the state’s existence.
The decision was taken at a high-level review meeting on the Covid situation, which was held at Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur’s residence on Sunday.
“The decision has been taken in view of the fast-spreading infection in the state and also a high rate of fatalities in some of the state’s districts including Una, Kangra, Solan, and Sirmaur”, said a senior official.
The state has seen a quantum jump in the number of active Covid-19 cases. More than 100 deaths due to Covid have been reported in the past 45 days.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said, “As of now, the state government has decided to allow tourists to visit the state, but at the same time hotel owners and tourists should strictly adhere to the SoPs “
The tourist influx in the state has already declined during the past fortnight.
An advisory will also be issued to the high load seven states to make the people aware of the new mandatory provisions for visiting Himachal Pradesh.
While emphasising on twin strategy for testing, tracing, and treatment with effective surveillance of micro containment zones, the chief minister said that greater emphasis must be laid on getting RT-PCR tests done to achieve the target of 70 percent RT-PCR tests in the state.
The state health department has been asked to take steps to increase bed capacity in order to meet any eventuality, besides stepping-up vaccination drive without minimum wastage of the vaccine.
“The virus is spreading at a fast pace which was the biggest concern. During the last 45 days, the state has reported 10,690 new Covid cases. The number of deaths has also increased rapidly with 120 deaths reported in the state during the last 45 days”, Thakur said.
The chief minister said the government has allowed the devotees to visit various temples in the state during the Navratri festival, but at the same time, organizing of 'langars', 'bhandaras' and 'jagran' has been completely banned.
The devotees were allowed to visit the temple to perform 'puja' and 'darshans' by maintaining social distancing and using face masks. The temple management must also ensure strict implementation of the SoPs laid down by the state government.
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