Extensive damage to standing mustard and potato crops has been reported from the rural hinterland of Agra region after hail, with spells of heavy showers, lashed western Uttar Pradesh. Heavy showers in Mathura and Vrindavan have affected Holi festivities. "The mood has been dampened not only by the showers but also by the coronavirus scare all around. The number of pilgrims has gone down," said Vrindavan activist Jagan Nath Poddar.
ISKCON has asked its foreign devotees to avoid coming to Vrindavan for two months. Sulabh International has cancelled its programme of Holi Milan at the widows' ashrams. At the railway stations in Agra division, a marked fall in the number of passengers has been discernible for past two days. People are avoiding travelling in crowded trains.
In Agra, an alert has been sounded and continuous monitoring of the movement of foreign tourists is being kept at the monuments. The number of visitors at the Taj Mahal has declined sharply, while star hotels have reported mass cancellations.
Tourism industry feared that the crisis could be the biggest in 36 years, after 1984 assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi. Coupled with the CAA, the Coronavirus threat has hit the industry hard and chances of any recovery seem remote as the tourist season ends after a month.
Meanwhile, the Archaeological Survey of India has expressed its helplessness for want of required infrastructure to monitor tourists for Coronavirus at the entrance of the monuments. Locals have suggested closure of the Taj Mahal for ten to 14 days to keep foreigners out of the city.
Hotels in the city have made arrangements for washing of hands with sanitisers at the entrances. District authorities have alerted health department teams to continuously monitor hotels and monuments. Two convent schools were fumigated on Wednesday after reports that the children of six suspected locals who had gone to Italy for a holiday, had attended the classes. All have tested negative.