In an attempt to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Sikkim government has decided to shut its borders to tourists till October.
So far, Sikkim is the only Indian state with zero COVID-19 cases. According to media reports, the govt has decided to stay its borders closed, to both domestic and international tourists, in order to stop the virus from entering the Himalayan state with an estimated population of seven lakh.
All the tested samples within the state to this point are negative. and therefore the government wants to keep it that way.
Last week, the Sikkim government also shut the border trade route, Nathu La, alongside cancelling this year’s Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.
The pass is the entry point for Indo-China trade and was scheduled to open in May. The border trade between India and China was resumed after a gap of over 40 years, in 2006.
The pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar was set to start in June, as always. The Ministry of External Affairs organizes the yatra from June to September annually through two different routes, Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand) and Nathu La Pass (Sikkim). But the pandemic has put an end to all pilgrimage plans this year.
Several other such annual pilgrimages may face an identical situation. For the annual Amarnath yatra, the govt has said they’re going to review things and make a decision. they’ll allow it after curtailing the duration and allowing only specific age-group devotees.
Sikkim was also one among the first states to ban the entry of both domestic and international tourists as well as migrant laborers. However, the laborers in the state are being taken care of by the govt with food and money for survival.
Apart from Sikkim, currently, Nagaland is also COVID-19 free. Earlier, just one patient had tested positive and was moved to Assam.
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