Shimla: Amid a massive influx of tourists in the hill stations, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur on Friday sent a message of caution to the covid-norms violaters.
While emphasising the need to follow the Covid-appropriate behaviour, Mr Thakur said, “the pandemic is not over yet”.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Mr Thakur said, “We are concerned about the number of tourists coming to the state. Tourists are welcome here but I appeal to them to follow COVID-19 norms.”
“We need to save the tourism industry also. I held a virtual meeting with districts officials and directed them to monitor and regulate the crowd. COVID-19 is not over yet. Hotels are being asked to follow SOPs,” he added.
Mr Thakur’s comments came at a time when the tourists, thronging hills to get respite from summers, were criticised for not wearing masks, not maintaining social distancing and for violating other covid norms.
While the number of coronavirus cases has been declining in the country, medical experts say the nation is not yet out of the woods.
Health experts, working with the government, have also raised concerns over the crowing at tourist destinations. A top official of the government’s Covid task force said the second wave is not over yet and people should not let their guard down. “The war is not over yet,” NITI Aayog member on health Dr VK Paul told reporters in Delhi on Friday.
In recent days, photos and videos have surfaced on social media showing thousands of people on the streets of popular tourist destinations.
People bathing in the river Ganga in Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar also emerged on social media, which was heavily criticised.
While defending their behaviour, the tourists said, they are not afraid of COVID-19 and were confident that they “arrived before the third wave”.
“We feel like we have come out of jail after two years. There is a huge crowd. We are not scared of COVID-19. We have come here before the third wave,” a tourist was quoted as saying by ANI.
Haridwar city police official Abhay Singh said efforts are being made to bring awareness among people.
The deadly second wave of coronavirus has killed over two lakh people.
(With Inputs From Agency)