Jammu, Oct 22: J&K government on Friday made RTPCR or Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) mandatory for Vaishnodevi pilgrims in order to regulate their number, besides calling for strict adherence to Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB).
The new guidelines were issued this evening in an order by the Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta, who is also the chairperson State Executive Committee (SEC) of J&K Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction.
As per new guidelines, only those pilgrims, who did not show any Covid related symptoms, would be allowed to visit the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.
“Valid and verifiable RT-PCR/Rapid Antigen Test of Yatri (pilgrims) not older than 72 hours of arrival should be made mandatory. Strict adherence to Covid Appropriate Behaviour/SOP must be followed,” the guidelines specified.
The guidelines were issued following a detailed review of the current Covid situation in Jammu and Kashmir by the Chief Secretary with the Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Finance, ACS (Health and Medical Education), Principal Secretary (Home), Principal Secretary (PWD - R&B), Divisional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police and other officers of Jammu and Kashmir on October 16, 2021.
On the basis of the assessment, the State Executive Committee (SEC), in exercise of the powers conferred up on it under section 24 of the Disaster Management Act, ordered that the number of Yatris (pilgrims) to Mata Vaishno Devij Shrine could be regulated taking into account these measures.
The SEC also ordered that the premises of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine should be properly sanitized as per the Covid Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).