New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday showed concern over tourists flaunting Covid-19 norms as a massive number of people flock to hill station while the experts are expecting third wave of deadly Coronavirus to grip India in next 4-6 weeks.
Referring to the massive footfall of people in hill stations, the Health Ministry stated that gross violations of Covid appropriate behaviour can nullify the gains so far.
During a press conference, Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said that the people travelling to hill stations were not following Covid-appropriate behaviour. “We can nullify the ease in restrictions again if protocols not complied with,” he said.
ICMR DG Dr Balram Bhargava said that the pictures from hill stations are frightening. He said people must comply with Covid-appropriate behaviour.
People travelling to hill stations are not following COVID-appropriate behaviour. We can nullify the ease in restrictions again if protocols not complied with: Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry pic.twitter.com/nOAMGccud2
— ANI (@ANI) July 6, 2021
Due to heatwave in Delhi and relaxations in curbs, thousands of people travelled to hill stations like Shimla and Manali in Himachal Pradesh.
Pictures of overcrowded tourists places went viral on social media with some slamming those violating Covid norms while travelling. Some said that if people continued to behave in such way then the third wave might not be far away.
Commenting on pictures coming from tourist places, RPG Enterprises Chairman Harsh Goenka said: “The way Indians are thronging the streets without Covid appropriate behaviour, I expect the third wave in September. Maybe there will be a fourth wave later.”
News agency ANI reported that in less than a month starting from June, there has been traffic of around 6-7 lakh tourists in Himachal Pradesh. As the number of new Covid cases started declining in the country, tourists have started thronging to the destinations like Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala, Dalhousie, and Narkanda.
Speaking to ANI, Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department Director Amit Kashyap said that after the government had eased the restrictions, the tourist inflow had picked up. “Generally, we receive over 1.3 crore tourists but the pandemic since the last year hit the tourism business,” he said.
Last year, Himachal received only 32 lakh tourists including foreigners. This year till May 31, the state received only 13 lakh tourists. “But now in June after the restrictions have been relaxed, we have received 6 to 7 Lakh tourists within this period,” Kashyap said.
“As the weather conditions are pleasant here and monsoon is delayed, people will continue to come. We have developed the SOPs for the tourists. Meetings were held with the hotel operators, tourism and travel associations. Tourism is a major source of income for the state’s economy and we are trying to revive this business. It is being ensured that the protocol is being followed,” Kashyap said.