Bhubaneswar: After one student from Odisha tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) after his return from Italy, the state Tourism Department has started tracking Italian nationals in the state.
According to available information, about 200 Italian nationals were among 5078 foreigners who had visited Odisha between February 1 and March 12.
Considering that Italy is the second country after China in terms of the number of coronavirus patients, the Department has launched a drive to trace the Italian tourists in the state.
Sources in the Tourism Department said 2269 and 256 foreign tourists had visited the tourist destinations in Khurda district in February 1 and between March 1-12 respectively.
Similarly, 1204 and 231 tourists had toured Puri during the period. Among them, 630 have visited Konark while about 200 tourists have visited tribal districts like Kandhamal and Koraput.
Informing the media, Director, Tourism, Sachin Ramchandra Jadhav said that efforts are on to collect the details about these foreign tourists and their nationality. “Instructions have been given to the local police and the tourist officers to collect details of the foreign tourists presently staying in their respective locality as well as those who have left Odisha. Once these data are available, it will be easier to get detailed information about them,” he pointed out.
Referring to the restrictions imposed by his department on the visit to the tourist destinations in the state, Jadhav said that the tourists have been barred from visiting these spots. “We have cancelled all tourist buses, asked the foreign tourists to avoid large gatherings and advised them to stay inside the hotel. Apart from this, the staff of all hotels and hospitality centres run by the department and the district collectors have been asked to collect detailed travel history of the tourists and inform the Health officials if any tourist is suffering from cough, cold and fever,” he pointed out.
While the foreign tourists in Odisha are fleeing to their countries after cancelling their tour, some tourists from Denmark are scheduled to return to their country on March 19. But as the Centre has cancelled flights to the countries that are affected by the coronavirus, the tourists of these countries are stranded in Odisha, sources said.