NEW DELHI: The government does not want to stop tourists but certain protocols must be followed to keep Covid at bay, Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy said on Monday amid concerns about burgeoning crowds at popular hill destinations and other tourist spots.
Every individual must be a Covid warrior if the pandemic is to be defeated, Reddy, who is also minister for culture and DoNER (Development of North-Eastern Region), said while appealing to people to exercise caution.
"While this is the responsibility of the state governments, we have issued advisories to follow Covid protocol. The only way to stop Covid is through partnership with the general public. I appeal to all tourists on behalf of the government of India to follow protocols that have been placed for their own safety," the minister told reporters during a visit to the National Archive of India.
"Each individual of this country has to be a Covid warrior and only then can we defeat this. The government does not want to stop tourists but it is our responsibility to keep everyone safe," he added.
People, Reddy said, should keep in mind what happened in their cities, towns and districts during the coronavirus crisis when thousands lost their lives, and thus think twice before breaking any rules.
The Indian Medical Association has also expressed concern over governments and people being complacent and engaging in mass gatherings without following COVID-19 protocols, saying these events are potential super spreaders for a third wave of the pandemic.
"Tourist bonanza, pilgrimage travel, religious fervor, all are needed, but can wait for a few more months."
"Opening up these rituals and enabling people without vaccination to go scot-free in these mass gatherings are potential super spreaders for the Covid third wave," the IMA said in a statement.
With 37,154 new coronavirus infections, India's tally of COVID-19 cases has risen to 3,08,74,376 (30.8 million/3.08 crore) while total recoveries have crossed three crore, according to Union Health Ministry data on Monday.
The death toll has climbed to 4,08,764 with 724 fresh fatalities.
The daily positivity rate was recorded at 2.59 percent -- less than three percent for 21 consecutive days and the weekly positivity rate at 2.32 percent.
While the numbers are encouraging, several states are still reporting worrying number of cases.