Intensifying measures to check the spread of novel coronavirus, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday suspended movement of all inter-state buses to-and-from the Union Territory and appealed “foreign tourists or visitors” to not visit the region. The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board also curtailed the visit to the cave shrine for all pilgrims.
“All foreign tourists or visitors arriving in J&K will be quarantined,” said UT government spokesperson Rohit Kansal. “Similarly, 100 per cent quarantine will be imposed for all visitors from the Union Territory of Ladakh,” he said, adding that the government has also decided to have 100 per cent checking of travellers at Banihal railway station.
Earlier in the day, UT Transport Commissioner Pardeep Kumar ordered that no inter-state bus service shall ply on inter-state routes with immediate affect till further orders. “The buses belonging to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which are presently outside the UT, shall not carry any passenger from outside the UT while returning back,” the order said.
Meanwhile, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board suspending the yatra to the cave shrine in Trikuta Hills near Katra from Wednesday and urged the pilgrims “not to plan their visit till the situation normalises completely”. However, “pooja, aarti and other rituals” shall be held at the holy cave shrine as usual, it said.
Taking a cue from Shrine Board, the management committee has banned the entry of devotees and general public at Chandi Mata temple in Bhaderwah’s Chinote area till April 4.
On similar lines, other religious leaders are also advised to suspend all religious gatherings and functions at least till March 31, Kansal said.
The UT government has also made self declaration mandatory for all the people travelling in train between Banihal-Qazigund. “Please ensure that all the inbound and outbound passengers coming through train up to Banihal and going back shall necessarily file the self declaration form, with the details,” a letter written by Divisional Commissioner Jammu Sanjeev Verma to Ramban Deputy Commissioner read.
Meanwhile, Anantnag District Magistrate has ordered to close down all educational institutions, coaching centres, gardens, public parks, resturants, hotels, food joints, roadside eateries, social, religious, and ritualistic events, gyms and saloons till further orders. He also asked the community halls not to offer any booking for any public function or religious event till further orders.
In Ramban, District Magistrate Nazim Zai Khan has also stopped plying of public transport in the district till March 31, besides ordering that all the markets in major towns of the district will open for three hours in the morning beginning 7 am and two hours in the evening from 5 pm.
Earlier, Jammu District Magistrate Sushma Chauhan had on March 15 issued an order under similar provions of National Disaster Management Act ordering closure of langers, bhandaras, dhabas, bars, resturants, food courts, food stalls, road side eateries etc, in the district till March 31. She also ordered closure of massage centres, spa, sauna etc., across the district till month end, adding no social, religious, or ritualistic events shall be held at any public, community, religious place involving a gathering of more than four people during the period.
In Udhampur district also, the administration has closed movement of public transport, besides educational instutions, hotels, restaurants, roadside eateries, besides banning social and religious gatherings among other precautionary measures.
Meanwhile, a total of 2,802 people have been under observation in the UT, Kansal said, adding that 2,128 are under home quarantine and 28 in hospital quarantine.
A total of 145 samples have been sent for testing of which 118 have tested negative, while report in 24 cases in awaited. Only three cases have been reported positive in the Ut so far, he added.
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