The Karnataka Tourism Department on Wednesday said that it is yet to decide on whether all tourists visiting various places in the state would have to get a COVID-19 test report showing that they tested negative. However, Raghavendra, Additional Director of Tourism in Kodagu district, confirmed that the district administration has only made it mandatory for devotees attending the Tula Sankramana festival in Kodagu, which is slated to be held on October 17.
On Tuesday, Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar held a meeting with the district administrative officials in Kodagu and suggested that tourists entering Kodagu and staying at hotels and homestays obtain a COVID-19 test 72 hours before arrival to show that they have not contracted the infection. While the government is yet to make the guidelines around it, it has decided that devotees at the festival will have to get the certificate.
The festival is held at Talacauvery, the birthplace of River Cauvery. The Kodavas celebrate Tula Sankramana every year to pay respects to the river, which they believe is goddess Cauvery. Thousands of devotees visit the place on this day to witness the rise of the water in the form of a fountain.
The district administration will have checkpoints 8 km away from the venue, where devotees would be screened for temperature and symptoms. They would also have to show their COVID-19 negative test reports before entering the venue.
“Once the state government issues the SOP (standard operating procedure) for tourists, only then can we decide how to implement it,” Raghavendra said.
He said that if COVID-19 test reports need to be submitted before entering hotels and homestays, the district administration would ask establishments to ensure that they comply with the directions.
“We would then have to conduct inspection to see if these regulations are being followed,” he added.
Officials with the Tourism Department told TNM that a meeting with stakeholders would be held and based on guidelines provided by the Union government, an SOP would be released shortly.