With a global surge in COVID-19 cases and rising concern about the pandemic situation in China, India has begun to tighten up restrictions and maintain a close watch on the COVID situation. Though the government, Centre or states did not impose any restrictions on celebrations during Christmas, several tourist places have taken strict precautionary steps. While the government has urged people to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour, such as wearing masks in crowded places, physical distancing and vaccination, popular tourist places have imposed stricter guidelines including mandatory screening and masks. Here is a look at the COVID-19 rules and restrictions mandated at tourist places in India.
1. Taj Mahal | The health department in Agra has begun screening visitors at the Taj Mahal and other monuments in the district. People are also asked to wear masks and focus on social distancing. Those with high body temperature or other COVID-19 symptoms need to undergo on-the-spot antigen testing and the collected samples are also being sent for RT-PCR testing.Primarily, tourists from the US, China, Japan, Brazil and European countries are being screened. (Shutterstock)
2. Agra Fort, and other monuments in Agra | Health authorities have also made masks and social distancing mandatory and screening of visitors at other monuments including Agra Fort and Akbar's Tomb. The Uttar Pradesh Health department's drive is part of the effort to contain the new BF.7 sub-variant of the coronavirus' Omicron strain. (Image: Shutterstock)
3. Himachal Pradesh | As Himachal Pradesh is brimming with tourists during the holiday season, the state government has already made masks mandatory for tourists. Waves of tourists are arriving in popular destinations such as Manali, Dharamshala, McLeodganj, Dalhousie, and Shimla. The Himachal Pradesh Police has announced that drones will be deployed at the entry points including Shimla, Parwanoo and Pandoh for accurate estimation of the number of visitors entering the state. (Image: Shutterstock)
4. Vaishno Devi | The Shrine Board of the Vaishno Devi temple has made wearing face masks mandatory for every pilgrim in the darshan queue and for those attending the aarti. As per the guidelines, only the pilgrims who are either carrying a valid Final Certificate Report of COVID-19 Vaccination or a valid RT-PCR COVID-19 Negative Report taken within 72 hours of arrival time will be allowed to participate in the pilgrimage. (Image: Shutterstock)
5. Tirupati Temple | As per local reports, the devotees coming for special darshan from January 1 to January 11, 2023, on the occasion of Vaikunda Ekadasi should present valid COVID vaccination certificates or certificates of no corona infection taken 48 hours before.