The board had on March 15 issued an advisory to NRIs and foreigners to not visit the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine for 28 days after landing in India as a precautionary measure. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has decided to suspend the yatra amid fear over coronavirus pandemic. The Jammu and Kashmir administration took to Twitter to make the official announcement. Apart from stopping the Vaishno Devi yatra, the J-K authorities have also halted the interstate bus services. It should be noted that the entry of tourists has already been banned by J-K administration. The announcement comes a day after the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board on Tuesday appealed pilgrims to postpone their visit to the temple till normalisation of the situation. "In view of coronavirus, Ramesh Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board today reviewed all aspects related to yatra and the safety of pilgrims. The CEO has appealed pilgrims to postpone their visit to the Shrine till normalisation of the situation," the shrine said in a statement. (Coronavirus Live Updates)
The board had on March 15 issued an advisory to NRIs and foreigners to not visit the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine for 28 days after landing in India as a precautionary measure. Meanwhile, all non-emergency leaves of paramilitary personnel should be "cancelled" to minimise the risk of contracting coronavirus during travel and they should get into "battle mode" to combat the pandemic by ensuring personal and public safety, according to a government order.
A four-page directive was issued by the medical wing of the Union home ministry on Tuesday stating that the next three weeks are crucial in checking the spread of the virus and lack of caution can affect the forces, around 10 lakh personnel-strong, deployed for ensuring the country's internal security and border protection. The Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) or the paramilitary forces include the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB) apart from the counter-terrorist force National Security Guard (NSG) and the Assam Rifles. "All non-emergency leave of any kind may be cancelled forthwith. This will cut down travel risk as well," the guidelines, accessed by PTI, said. "Avoid international or domestic air, bus or train travel for at least a month except when it is essentially required. Long distance travel is biggest cause for spread (of the virus)," it said.
The number of novel coronavirus cases in the country rose to 147 on Wednesday, with 10 fresh cases reported from various parts of the country, according to the Health Ministry. The cases include 25 foreign nationals and the three persons who died in Delhi, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Over 5,700 people, who had come in contact with these positive cases, are under rigorous surveillance, the Ministry said. The number of cases in Ladakh rose to 8 and Jammu and Kashmir three.
(With agency inputs)