By P.T. Bopanna
With the coronavirus cases shooting up in Karnataka’s most famous hill station, the state government on Tuesday banned all tourism activities in Kodagu (Coorg) district with immediate effect.
This follows 14 persons testing positive in the last 24 hours and the total number of cases reaching 92 with one death occurring two days ago from Covid-19 pandemic which witnessed a sudden spurt after the district was in the green zone for almost two months.
The DC Annies Joy issued an order directing all resorts, homestays, lodges and other tourist facilities to close immediately till further orders. Tour operators were directed not take fresh bookings.
A day earlier, Karnataka’s tourism minister C.T. Ravi had appealed to tourists flocking to Kodagu to stay away from the hill districts due to growing anger in the local population, worried by the spurt in Covid cases.
Though Covid cases were previously confined to Madikeri and Somwarpet taluks, it spread to Virajpet taluk in the past few days, with cases being reported from Virajpet, Gonikoppal, Thithimathi and Pollibetta.
Kodagu is the homestays capital of India with an estimated 5,000 homestays spread across the tiny district. The local residents have been very apprehensive in the past few days as they feared that tourists coming to the district from outside could worsen the pandemic. There were reports of local residents asking tourists to go back.