Vaishno Devi Shrine Board issues travel advisory, closures ordered across Jammu region

Arun Sharma
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The UT administration meanwhile has ordered the closure of all eateries and spas, besides banning all social, religious events involving an assembly of more than four people in Jammu till March 31.

Intensifying measures to deal with the the threat of Covid-19, the Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board on Sunday advised foreigners and NRIs not to visit the shrine for 28 days after landing in India as a precautionary measure. The UT administration meanwhile has ordered the closure of all eateries and spas, besides banning all social, religious events involving an assembly of more than four people in Jammu till March 31.

In its advisory, the Board has also advised domestic pilgrims to reschedule or postpone their visit in case they experience symptoms. According to sources, an average of 25,000 people are visting the shrine each day.

“The numbers are good as last year, but Board is taking all possible precautions,” said Ramesh Kumar, CEO of the Shrine Board.

Meanwhile, in Jammu district, District Magistrate Sushma Chauhan invoked her powers under Section 34 of the National Disaster Management Act, 2005, to mitigate any possible spread of the virus by ordering the closure of langars (community kitchens), bhandaras, dhabas, bars, restaurants, food courts, food stalls, road side eateries etc., in the district till March 31. She also ordered closure of massage centres, spas, saunas etc., across the district till month end, adding that no social or religious events will be held at any public place involving a gathering of more than four people.

Only fruit and vegetable markets may continue to function to ensure provisioning of essential supplies, she also banned conferences, rallies, protests till March 31.

Meanwhile, in Rajouri and Udhampur and Poonch districts, the respective district magistrates issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC for a period of one month.

With two positive infection cases reported from the UT, the administration had already closed educational institutions across the UT till March 3.