COVID-19 in UP: Varanasi seeks negative RT-PCR test for temple entry; urges tourists to stay away in April
Photo by BL Soni

Amid rising COVID-19 cases, the Uttar Pradesh administration is taking a slew of precautionary measures. A day after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and members of his Cabinet tested positive for the deadly virus, the administration has issued directions for quarantining returning migrants and urged tourists to stay away.

The Varanasi district administration has now made it mandatory for people visiting three prominent temples to present a negative RT-PCR test report. Divisional Commissioner Deepak Agrawal told ANI that the new rule would apply to the Vishwanath Temple, Sankatmochan Temple, and Annapurna Temple, as well as the city's hotels.

But as Uttar Pradesh reports the second-highest number of new COVID-19 cases in the country on Wednesday, and the active case tally crosses the one lakh mark, officials are loath to take chances. As per an NDTV report, the local administration is also discouraging tourists from visiting in the month of April.

"We appeal to domestic and international tourists planning to visit Varanasi to cancel their trip this month because of the unprecedented COVID-19 infections," the article adds, quoting an advisory by District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma.

While parts of Uttar Pradesh has already been demarcated into containment zones or put under additional restrictions, there is a growing possibility of lockdown in the state. The Allahabad High Court recently asked the state government to consider a complete lockdown for two to three weeks for the worst affected areas.

In the meantime, voting is presently underway for the first of the four-phase Uttar Pradesh panchayat elections with COVID-19 protocols in place.

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Free Press Journal