PESHAWAR             -        Despite the fact that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has closed hill stations for the tourists in the wake of coronavirus, hundreds of people were seen stranded at various points across the province on Tuesday in a bid to reach these stations.

There were reports that hundreds of picnickers and tourists were stuck near Chakhdara Bridge – an entry to Dir Lower, Dir Upper, Kumrat Valley and Chitral, and near Landakhy, an entry to beautiful Swat valley.

When contacted, KP Labour and Culture Minister Shaukat Yousafzai said the provincial government had already told the general public not go to any tourism or picnic spot in order to ensure their protection from coronavirus.

“We are more worried about our people’s health and the most important thing is saving their lives. That is why we had decided to close the tourism spots for the public throughout the Eidul Fitr holidays so that rush of people could be avoided,” he informed.

The minister cited health experts’ advice of social distancing for the government’s decision to keep these hill stations closed.

He further said Dir Lower, Dir Upper, Kumrat, Naran, Kaghan, Swat, and Guliyat were some of the most visited places in KP.

“We’ve decided to keep all tourism spots closed at least till Eid holidays are over because we don’t want people to come in or go out of the province frequently since that may worsen the coronavirus situation,” said Yousafzai.

The minister told APP that the KP government will frame a strategy after Eid to revive its pandemic-hit tourism industry.