Kerala turns no-go state after Nipah scare

Kerala turns no-go state after Nipah scare

Family members of a patient infected by Nipah virus wear safety masks at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital. pti

It is not just the Kerala government, the Karnataka tourism department too is advising people to avoid visiting God's own country.

The state tourism department has advised people to avoid visiting Kerala, especially four districts - Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur - where cases of Nipah infection have been reported.

Kerala Health secretary Rajeev Sadanandan had, on Wednesday, advised the people to keep away from the state.

B Ramu, director of the Karnataka tourism department, told DH that since it was a communicable disease, those who travel to Kerala may carry the virus to Karnataka.

“Tourists should avoid visiting Kerala this season. In case of emergency, those travelling there should be extremely careful,” he said.

T K Anil Kumar, secretary to the department of tourism, said they will co-ordinate with their counterparts in the health department on the safety measures that need to be taken. People should take the advice of the health officials seriously.

The two departments will discuss as to how and where tourists from Kerala can be screened. The two departments are taking stock of the number of tourists, the entry and exit points. They are collecting data from various stakeholders on the tourist inflow.

Travel agents have already started witnessing cancellations and drop in bookings to Kerala. They point that not only leisure travel, corporate bookings too have come to a halt.

Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) officials said bookings to Kerala had taken a beating soon after the news of the virus spread. Inquiries pertaining to cancellation of bookings were on the rise, he said.

Sunder Venkat, reservation executive from Cauvery Travel Links, too confirmed tourism had been affected because of Nipah virus. No bookings have been made for a week now and there are no reservations for the weeks ahead also.

Mohammed Imran, travel consultant from Atlas Tours and Travels Private Limited, said there was only limited corporate reservation to Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. There are no bookings for any other places in Kerala.