The famous Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra has been closed from Wednesday. Operations of all inter-state buses both incoming and outcoming from Jammu and Kashmir has been banned Wednesday onwards. This was confirmed by the Department of Information and Public Relations. The yatra is usually open throughout the year, but now joins a growing list of religious places and yatras that are being temporarily closed on account of the Coronavirus outbreak. The pilgrimage to the holy cave attracts millions of devotees every year. The holy cave is situated at an altitude of 5,200 feet. The pilgrims have to trek for approximately 12 km from the Katra base camp to reach the holy shrine.
#COVID19 #JammuAndKashmir— DIPR-J&K (@diprjk) March 18, 2020
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra has been closed from today.
Operations of All Inter State Buses - Incoming and Outgoing from J&K, banned from today.@ANI @PIB_India @DDNewslive @airnewsalerts @kansalrohit69
Incidentally, Ramesh Kumar- the CEO of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) had appealed to the pilgrims to postpone their visit to the cave shrine in wake of the novel coronavirus crisis. He noted that all necessary precautions had been taken to combat the challenge posed by COVID-19. Moreover, the pilgrims were directed to fill a self reporting form available at yatra registration counters, accommodations and the helipad terminal. Additionally, they werre required to undergo scanning at the Katra base camp for the yatra.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 has been declared as an epidemic in the Union Territory of Jammy and Kashmir. The surveillance personnel have been empowered to enter any premises to look for the novel coronavirus suspects. On Tuesday evening, Baseer Khan- the advisor to the Lieutenant Governor issued an order banning the entry of foreign tourists as a precautionary measure. 4 other states- Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram and Nagaland has already taken such a step in the wake of the novel coronavirus crisis. Furthermore, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has ordered the closure of hotels, restaurants, community kitchens and barred home delivery of food in Srinagar. Currently, there are three confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Union Territory.