'Open Invitation to COVID-19', Centre Issues Warning After Overcrowding at Tourist Places in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh

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New Delhi, July 9: The Centre on Friday expressed grave concern over the overcrowding by tourists at several destinations, majorly in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The central government said that flouting COVID-19 norms is "open invitation" to coronavirus. Tourists have been thronging several places in these hill states, raising an alarm amid fears of the third wave of COVID-19. The government issued a warning that lowering guards against coronavirus would result in the third wave of the deadly virus. Scores of Maskless Covidiots Flout Covid Norms and Throng Kempty Falls In Mussoorie (Watch Video).

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During a press conference on Friday, videos of people flouting COVID-19 protocols at tourist places in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh were played, highlighting the severity of the situation. Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary of Health Ministry, reacting to the video of people overcrowding at Kempty Falls in Mussoorie said, "Is this not an open invitation for the virus?" Manali Issues New COVID-19 Rules After Pictures of Crowded Streets Go Viral, Rs 5,000 Fine or 8-Day Jail if Found Without Face Masks.

Statement By Lav Agarwal:

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Agarwal also stated that by not following the COVID-19 protocols, people are not only exposing themselves to the virus but also their near and ear ones, and it would result in losing the battle against COVID-9. Meanwhile, Niti Ayog member Dr VK Paul also asked people, to follow COVID-19 norms so that the spread of the virus could be controlled. Dharamshala Boy Amit, Seen Asking People to Wear Masks in Viral Video, Becomes Police Mascot for COVID-19 Protocols.

"In a mood of recreation at tourist spots, there is particularly risk of Covid. The infection has always spread in crowded places faster. Tourism should be there, but if we are irresponsible and don'tdon't follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, the virus can spread faster," reported NDTV quoting Dr Paul as saying. He added that people could not afford laxity in following the COVID-19 protocols.

Health Ministry's Statement:

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Recently, several videos and images of overcrowding at tourist places in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh surfaced on social media. Tourists were seen flouting COVID-19 protocols of the Centre. Taking cognisance of the videos and images, the Centre asked Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh to ensure social distancing, wearing of masks and respiratory hygiene in view of increased footfall at tourist places.

Earlier this week also, the Health Ministry had warned that gross violations of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour after lifting lockdown restrictions in different parts of the country could lead to the easing being nullified.

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