The increasing Coronavirus scare has led to poor footfall at the Varanasi 'ghats' of Uttar Pradesh hitting small businesses hard, and leaving nearly 50,000 families affected.
"Coronavirus has a major impact on the footfall at the ghats. There is a drastic decline in the visit of devotees. Due to the fear of Coronavirus, only a few hundred people are visiting the ghats these days," said Brahmanand Rai, a local trader.
On regular days, these Varanasi ghats used to be swarmed with foreign and domestic tourists, but ever since the Coronavirus outbreak in UP, the footfall has reduced drastically. Sailors, florists, photographers, barbers, small eatery owners are all suffering a big loss as the numbers of visitors went down.
Amid Coronavirus outbreak across the globe, a temple priest in Varanasi has put face masks on deities, appealing the devotees to not touch the idols. According to the priest, Krishna Anand Pandey, he has put a mask on Lord Vishwanath to raise awareness about the deadly virus.
Speaking to the news agency, ANI, he said, "Just like we put clothes on the idols when it is cold and put ACs or fans when it's hot, we have put masks on the deities. We are urging the people not to touch the idols to prevent the spread of the virus. If people touch the idol, the virus will spread and more people will get infected."
Along with it, the priest and devotees at the temple were seen offering prayers wearing face masks.
As of March 15, Uttar Pradesh has reported 12 confirmed cases of the deadly Coronavirus. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the UP government has taken every possible step to contain the spread of Coronavirus pandemic. As many as 115 cases of COVID-19, including 17 foreign nationals, have been confirmed across India and two deaths were reported due to the pandemic.