'Tourism With a Vengeance': Himachal Cop as Crowds Throng Manali, Shimla
A sea of tourists has flocked to Himachal Pradesh, even as the country braces for a third wave of COVID-19.
Pictures of tourists flocking to Himachal Pradesh have flooded social media, even as the country gears up to face an imminent third wave of COVID-19.
Amid the soaring summer temperatures in the northern part of the country, crowds have made a run for the more comfortable climates of Manali, Shimla, Kufri and Dalhousie, among others.
"After the COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed in June, we've received about 6 to 7 lakh tourists in the state so far. Tourist inflow has been increased as heatwave hits the northern part of the country," Amit Kashyap, Director, Tourism Department told news agency ANI.
With COVID-19 restrictions for travellers relaxed in the state, which relies heavily on tourism, the crowds thronging the hilly region have attracted concerns of public health safety.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Chief Dr Randeep Guleria has predicted that the third wave of COVID-19 is “inevitable” in India and may hit the country in the coming weeks.
Speaking to NDTV, Dr Guleria had said that as various parts of the country begin unlocking and relaxing restrictions, a lack of COVID-appropriate behaviour has been observed.
“We don’t seem to have learnt from what happened between the first and the second wave. Again crowds are building up... people are gathering."Dr Randeep Gulera, AIIMS Chief
The coronavirus, which spreads through human proximity, has been noted to cause the most infections when people gather in large numbers – with the recent debacle at the Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand serving as an cautionary example.
A senior police officer of Himachal Pradesh called the crowds in Manali "tourism with a vengeance" and remarked on the overcrowding of travellers in the state.
"Over 10,000 vehicles crossed Parwanoo towards Shimla over the weekend. Hotels, home stays are all packed to capacity even in remote corners of Shimla and Kinnaur," the police official said in a tweet.
Several netizens have taken to Twitter to condemn the reckless collection of tourists in Himachal.
According to a Times of India report, Himachal Pradesh reported 158 new COVID-19 cases on 5 July, and 1 death due to the viral disease. The state reported 1357 active cases of COVID-19 on 5 July.
(With inputs from ANI, Times of India and NDTV)
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