Australian tourist, Nepali labourer sent back from Qazigund


ANANTNAG: Two foreigners who arrived in Kashmir valley on Friday were sent back from the screening facility at Lower Munda, Qazigund, even though they underwent proper screening and were found asymptomatic. They were not allowed to enter the valley following the directions of the J&K government, said a medical official posted at the screening facility. The Jammu and Kashmir government has banned all foreign tourists and visitors from entering Kashmir valley to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The J&K government has set up a screening point at Lower Munda along the Jammu-Srinagar highway to screen all passengers arriving in Kashmir valley and to inquire about their travel history. “Among the foreigners, one belonged to Australia and the other to Nepal. They both had come travelling in a vehicle and had reached today morning,” said Dr Ashiq, Nodal Officer COVID-19 (National Highway). The Australian citizen, a tourist to India, had been staying at Jaipur, Rajasthan, for some days and had come all the way driving a private vehicle to visit Kashmir valley. The Nepali citizen, a labourer by profession, had come from Punjab to work in Kashmir, but was asked to go back to his previous destination at the screening point and was not allowed to move further. “We received two foreign nationals in the day, and after proper screening we immediately sent them back after consultations with the higher authorities,” said Dr Ashiq. “The screening is going on in high gear. Every passenger is being checked thoroughly for any kind of symptoms. If anyone is found with symptoms, they are being asked to be home quarantined or either isolated quarantined,” Dr Ashiq said. Asked about the entry of foreigners, he said, “the government has ordered that no tourist or foreign visitor should be allowed to enter the valley. We are following it very strictly. If any foreigner comes by road, he’ll be sent back immediately. We don’t know how he was allowed to pass the Lakhanpur screening point.” Block Medical Officer (BMO) Qazigund, Dr Zahoor Ahmad, confirmed that two foreign nationals were sent back after proper checking and screening on Friday. Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang K. Pole along with other higher officials visited the screening facility during the day and took firsthand account of the facilities available. He directed officials to establish a separate screening

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