A day after 89 devotees of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, belonging to different states of the country were tested positive for COVID-19, Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday asked every traveler to announce his/her travel history.
The government also decided to impose a fine of Rs 20,000 and take action as per the law if anyone is found hiding their international travel history from the last two weeks at Srinagar and Jammu airports.
This step has been taken due to fear of the Omicron variant of the virus. Already, the Union Territory government has set up special centers both at Jammu and Srinagar to isolate people infected with the virus.
The government has also decided that all international travelers (including those domestic travelers who have a history of international travel during the past two weeks) shall be subjected to RT-PCR test upon their arrival at Srinagar and Jammu airports respectively.
RT-PCR test mandatory for all travelers
The government has made the RT-PCR test mandatory for all travelers. After their arrival at Jammu or Srinagar airports, travelers would be sent to administrative quarantine after collection of the sample of their RT-PCR tests. Travelers have to wait for reports of their tests.
If any traveler is found positive, he/she shall be admitted to separate wards of DRDO hospitals set up at Khanmoh in Srinagar and Bhagwati Nagar in Jammu for further treatment.
Special quarantine centers for international travelers
Jammu and Kashmir government has set up special quarantine centers for international travelers after the outbreak of the new Omicron variant of Coronavirus. In Jammu, Yatri Niwas at Bhagwati Nagar is already converted into a quarantine center to quarantine international travelers.
During the first and second waves of the virus, Yatri Niwas was converted into a 500-bedded COVID care center and the building was handed over to the Health Department.
In Srinagar, the administration has set up three special quarantine centers for international guests.
Mariage hall at Sanantnagar area of city and two hotels with all facilities have been converted into quarantine centers.
After undergoing COVID tests at the Srinagar international airport, international travelers will have to stay for eight hours for mandatory quarantine at these centers, reports said. Kashmir is all set to witness international tourist arrival in the wake of the onset of winter and the activities to be conducted by the tourism department including adventure tourism etc.
89 pilgrims of Mata Vaishno Devi tested positive at Katra
On Wednesday evening, 89 pilgrims of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine belonging to different states tested positive for COVID-19 on their arrival at Katra Railway Station.
The district administration immediately isolated them in the "holding area", packed them in vehicles, and sent them to their respective states in the vehicles already reserved for such situations.
District Magistrate Reasi Charandeep Singh told the media that as soon as 89 pilgrims tested positive for COVID-19, the district administration lodged them in the "holding area" established within the Railway Station.
Maximum 34 positives were reported from New Delhi followed by 23 in Punjab, nine Haryana, seven each in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, three from Bihar, and one each from Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.