At a time when the world is facing the new variant ‘Omicron’ of COVID-19, the administration in Jammu and Kashmir has sprung into action. The administration has chalked out new rules and regulations for the international travellers coming to Kashmir Valley. 

All those people who are either tourists from different countries or locals who travelled abroad will have to be quarantined. The official quarantine will continue till test reports come, and after that there will be home quarantine for one week. 

The Srinagar administration has set up 3 special quarantine centers for foreign tourists and locals who have traveled abroad. These facilities would be free of cost. The administration has also established paid quarantine centers where full medical arrangements will be made as well. 

”WHO has detected the new variant and says it is a cause of concern, they have called it Omicron. We have taken steps at the Srinagar airport, all tourists and locals coming from abroad will have to get a RT PCR test done at the airport only. After taking the samples, we have set up quarantine centres and till the time results don’t come, they have to stay in these centres. We have taken these steps to stop the border transmission. Yesterday a passenger from Bandipora who had come from Saudi Arabia tested positive and there are four such samples that are inconclusive. The moment we get the results of these, the ones who come positive will be sent to DRDO Hospital and those who will test negative will be asked to home-quarantine for a week.” said Ajaz Asad District Commissioner, Srinagar. 

The tourists who are landing in Srinagar are finding it difficult to adhere to these new rules by the Srinagar Administration. They say that they have not explained the new protocols. One such American tourist in Srinagar was completely dissatisfied with the authorities’ handling of the situation. She along with other tourists were unhappy about their travel.

‘They told me to wait and get tested and I don’t know what’s the protocol. Nobody explained to me. I waited for two or three hours and they told me to get tested again. Then they took us to quarantine. First they told one day then seven days. This is inhumane what they are doing to everybody.  If the Indian government says if you test negative it’s fine.  Why are there different regulations here, you can’t make your own rules as you go along, it’s not right, it’s inhumane. This is my first time here and I don’t feel welcome here. I feel really bad for everyone who has to go through the same,” said Itresha, an American tourist. 

The marriage hall and two hotels with all facilities have been converted into quarantine centres. After the international travellers go through the COVID-19 tests at the Srinagar International Airport, they have to be quarantined at these facilities till the results come.

”I have landed in Srinagar this morning, the central government had issued a list of countries where in those people need to be quarantined, but we are coming from the Maldives. We said OK to RTPCR but we are being told that if you come negative you have to stay at home for 7 days, we don’t live here and we cant be hotel bound for next seven days. There is no hot water here, there is no food for us. It’s difficult as we don’t know anyone here and we are stuck,” said Tushar Saxena, Delhi resident who returned from the Maldives. 

Jammu and Kashmir is also witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases. The daily cases in the Union territory have crossed 200 mark while 39 people have died last month due to Covid related issues. In the last 24 hours, 177 new cases have been detected in Jammu Kashmir.