COVID-19: J&K bans entry of foreign tourists, closes hotels

COVID-19 has been declared an epidemic in Jammu and Kashmir

srinagar disinfect pti Municipal workers spray disinfectants as a precautionary measure against coronavirus at a park in Srinagar | PTI

The entry of foreign tourists has been banned in Jammu and Kashmir as a precautionary measure to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The order to ban the entry of foreign tourists was issued by Baseer Khan, adviser to the Lt. Governor, on Tuesday evening.

The government has also ordered the closure of hotels, restaurants, community kitchens and banned home delivery of food in Srinagar as additional steps against the spread of COVID-19.

The ban on foreign tourists came after four states in the northeast—Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram and Nagaland—had banned entry of foreigners as a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus.

COVID-19 has been declared an epidemic in Jammu and Kashmir, and surveillance personnel have been authorised to enter any premises to look for suspects infected with the coronavirus.

The presence of a suspect has been declared as hazardous for public safety.

“Such persons are bound to cooperate and render all possible assistance to facilitate such surveillance, inspection, enquiry and examination,” reads the notification of health and medical education department.

The surveillance personnel have been authorised to put suspects in home quarantine or escort them out.

Any person found infected can be put in 'institutional quarantine facility' or an 'isolation facility'.

Notifying persons with travel history to coronavirus-affected countries has been made mandatory for all medical officials and practitioners including medical practitioners, including AYUSH, to surveillance authorities.

Sub-divisional magistrates or executive magistrates have been authorised to take appropriate action in case a suspect refuses to take home quarantine or institutional quarantine.

“In case of minors, such order shall be directed to the guardian or any other adult member of the minor,” reads the notification,

Whosoever disobeys an order or obstructs the performance of functions, duties and responsibility enshrined upon any authority under these regulations will be deemed to have committed an office under section 188 of Indian Penal Code.

The government has also barred the entry of public in the civil secretariat in view of two confirmed cases (and possibly three cases) in Jammu till March 31.

Passengers of all flights from Ladakh will be quarantined and quarantine facilities will also be set up at Baltal at Sonamarg to quarantine people entering Kashmir from Ladakh.

All foreigners visiting the Union territory shall be quarantined as per the set protocol.

The divisional commissioner, Jammu, has also been directed to call a meeting of prominent religious leaders, advising them to convince people to reduce/avoid gatherings during upcoming religious festivals to keep the transmission in check.

All interstate buses entering Jammu and Kashmir shall be checked and sanitised at an entry point in Kathua.

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