ITANAGAR: After Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh has banned the entry of foreign tourists into the state due to rising fear over Covid-19.
Official sources said the state government had temporarily stopped issuing Protected Area Permits (PAPs). Directives towards this effect were issued to all PAP-issuing authorities by Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar, they said.
Foreign tourists visiting Arunachal, as well as Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, are required to carry PAPs. Indian nationals, hailing from outside these states, are required to carry Inner Line Permits. The stay for both sets of the tourists is allowed for a limited period.
A tribal organisation in Nagaland has also banned the entry of tourists, both domestic and international, in Mon district.
Expressing deep concern over Covid-19, the Konyak Union insisted that the state government should take some urgent precautionary measures to keep the virus at bay.
The union said the ban, announced by it, would be effectively enforced during Konyak Aoleng, the annual spring festival of Konyak tribesmen, which is celebrated in the first week of April. Two days ago, the state’s Chief Secretary Temjen Toy had said that the state would not put any restrictions on the inflow of foreign tourists.
Sikkim had banned the entry of foreigners from Thursday.
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has also shut its borders to foreign visitors for two weeks in an effort to limit the impact of the disease.
The virus that first emerged in China in December last year has spread to 97 countries and has infected 102,180 people, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus tracker.
More than 3,500 people have been killed due to the virus so far.