Covid-19: Himachal Pradesh revises travel guidelines for flyers

The government will also monitor inter-state movement through registration on its e-pass software. (Picture courtesy: IE)

Himachal Pradesh has revised its guidelines for tourists and travellers arriving to Shimla, Kulu, and Kangra districts, removing the mandatory requirement for a negative Covid-19 test. However, thermal screening will be done for all passengers arriving in the state. It has also removed the requirement for home or institutional quarantine for travellers.

Travellers arriving to the state by air will not be required to register themselves on the government’s e-pass portal prior to commencing their journey. However, downloading the Centre’s Aarogya Setu mobile application has been made mandatory.

The government will also monitor inter-state movement through registration on its e-pass software. This will enable the state government monitor travellers on compliance with quarantine requirements as well trace contacts in cases of positive Covid-19 cases. Travellers willing to enter the state will have to register their details on this software. Details of their arrival will then be shared with all stakeholders concerned. However, they will not be required to furnish a negative RT-PCR test report.

The decision follows the government’s move to tighten Covid-19 guidelines for tourist and travellers to the state earlier this month that led to concern over a spike in cases. The Himachal Pradesh had announced a flurry of relaxations for travellers to the state at the end of June, including removing the mandatory requirement for e-passes and negative RT-PCR test reports, as Covid-19 cases started to show a downtrend.

However, that decision quickly backfired as thousands of tourists thronged the state, especially Shimla, in first week of July. According to police estimates, around 27,000 vehicles entered the city in the first week of July. Most of these tourists had come looking for a quick weekend trip from neighbouring Haryana, Punjab, and Chandigarh. The influx of tourists had forced the government’s hand, which then tightened entry restrictions to the state.

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