Visit to tourist sites in Odisha prohibited in view of coronavirus outbreak

Bhubaneswar: In view of the the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak which has claimed two lives so far in India , the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) today said that visit to tourism sites will be prohibited so as to contain the possible spread of the deadly virus.

“Tourists will not be allowed to sites of tourism importance from tomorrow, in view of the coronavirus outbreak. The visitors will not be allowed to places like Puri, Konark, Chandrabhaga and Chilika,” Bijay Kumar Jena, Tourist Officer of OTDC said.

On the other hand, the Tourism department has asked the hospitality sector to ensure that foreign tourists are not “unnecessarily harassed” in the name of precautionary measures in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

In a letter to various hotel associations, the state tourism director said it has come to the department’s notice that foreign tourists are being denied entry into hotels in some places.

“These (denial of entry) include foreign tourists who have had no exposure to the virus…. This is causing unnecessary panic and harassment to tourists. It is advised not to stop entry of such tourists and to allow them to check in to hotels,” S R Jadhav, director and additional secretary in the tourism department, said in the letter.

If required, medical testing of the tourists may be undertaken as per the prescribed procedure, Jadhav said.

Meanwhile, The tourism department issued an advisory on “COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Outbreak Control and Prevention” for officials as well as the hospitality sector because of the coronavirus outbreak.  Every hospitality unit letting out accommodation to guests were asked to collect their detailed travel history for
the past three weeks, such as countries visited, places of stay and modes of travel.

Travellers need to be informed about repeated hand wash, cough etiquette, personal hygiene – not to touch eyes, mouth and nose – and to avoid crowded places and large gatherings, the advisory said.

It said the travellers should be instructed to report to the management if they start suffering from fever, cough, running nose, difficulty in breathing etc, and in such cases, the guest may be advised to isolate himself in his room, and not to use swimming pools, restaurants and gyms.  The hotel management should also inform the competent authorities so that patients can be brought to the designated isolation facility in a specified ambulance.

Rooms used by such guests should be thoroughly disinfected and the linen replaced prior to being let out to others, it said.  The advisory suggested public areas and common contact points must be disinfected at least twice a day.

(With agency inputs)

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