The Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday directed the state government to review its decision to relax Covid-19 restrictions, Bar and Bench reported.
A bench of Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma raised concerns about the influx of tourists over the last two weekends.
The court was hearing a batch of petitions related to handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the state. Citing media reports, the court said that 25,000 tourists who visited Nainital city were found to be flouting Covid-19 norms. The judges said that the tourists may spread the Delta plus variant of the coronavirus in the state.
Advocate Vinay Bhatt, appearing for one of the petitioners, submitted that tourists were entering the state without conducting RT-PCR or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction tests. Counsels of other petitioners flagged matters like the state’s poor healthcare infrastructure and difficulties in vaccinating the elderly and physically challenged.
The bench asked Uttarakhand Chief Secretary SS Sandhu to inform the court whether the state government has taken any decision to tighten the lockdown during weekends, the Hindustan Times reported. The court also asked the government to take steps to control the inflow of tourists. It directed the secretary of the health department to inform about the Covid-19 samples sent to the National Centre for Disease Control.
The court’s directions came a day after the Centre said that crowding in hill stations was frightening and observed that many tourists were not following Covid-appropriate behaviour. Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, health ministry, warned that restrictions may be imposed again if people continue to flout Covid guidelines.
On Monday, the Uttarakhand government extended the Covid-19 curfew in the state till July 13, but allowed certain relaxations like opening of malls at 50% capacity. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the state reported 77 new cases of coronavirus with a positivity rate of 5.98%. No deaths were registered in the state in the last 24 hours.