Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, facing rising Covid cases and an infrastructure that is struggling to cope, has urged tourists to stay out of the temple city in April. The temple city has seen a steep rise of 1,266 per cent in Covid cases over the past two weeks.
“We appeal to domestic and international tourists planning to visit Varanasi to cancel their trip this month because of the unprecedented Covid infections,” Varanasi District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma has said in an advisory.
The Varanasi administration has also said those visiting the famous Kashi-Vishwanath temple need a negative RT-PCR test report to enter. These Covid-negative reports will also be needed for visitors stopping over, Mr Sharma said.
Varanasi district currently has 10,206 active infections, the highest after state capital Lucknow and Prayagraj, another popular destination for tourists and devotees.
On March 31, the city had recorded 116 new cases in a day and had 550 active cases. Yesterday, the daily rise was at 1,585.
Queues for testing and medicines have been stretching over the past few days at district hospitals.
“Because of the rising cases, we have to take strict steps that includes mandatory Covid negative reports from RT-PCR tests not more than 3 days old to enter the Kashi-Vishwanath, Sankatmochan and Annapurna temples,” said Deepak Aggarwal, Varanasi District Commissioner.
He also said people from neighbouring districts had been asked to avoid entering the city unless absolutely necessary.
The city has already imposed a night curfew and banned people from ghats along the Ganga between 4 pm and 6 am.