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Jammu & Kashmir imposes more Covid curbs as cases rise. Details here

Complete restrictions will be imposed on non-essential movements in Jammu and Kashmir from every Friday 2 pm till Monday 6 am in view of the rising cases of Covid-19, said the union territory administration in a new order issued on Thursday. In addition to this, officials also exempted pregnant employees of the UT government from attending the office. “They shall be allowed to work from home," the order said.

Fresh snowfall in Gulmarg, Pahalgam in Kashmir

Srinagar, Jan 20: The minimum temperature dropped slightly in most parts of Kashmir where the tourist resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam received fresh snowfall, officials said on Thursday. The minimum temperature in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, settled at a low of 2.2 degrees Celsius half-a-degree down from the previous night, they said. Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 5. degrees Celsius. Pahalgam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 0.6 degrees Celsius, up from the previous night’s minus 1.9 degrees Celsius, they said. The officials said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, recorded a minimum of 0.7 degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of minus 0.1 degrees Celsius. The minimum in Kupwara in north Kashmir settled at a low of 1.2 degrees Celsius. The MET Office has said the weather will remain partly to generally cloudy in J-K with the possibility of a spell of light rain or snow during January 22-23. Thereafter, the weather is likely to stay mainly dry till the end of the month and there is no forecast of any major rain or snow till the end of January, it said. Kashmir valley is currently under the grip of the 40-day harshest winter period known as ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ which began on December 21 last year. ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ is a period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies including the famous Dal Lake here as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley. The chances of snowfall are the most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy to very heavy snowfall. The ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ will end on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).

Cyprus to remove travel restrictions for vaccinated travelers in March

The government of Cyprus has announced that it will lift all travel restrictions on vaccinated travellers in March. Cyprus is a country that relies largely on tourism. Given the current situation, the country has decided to remove all entry requirements from March 1 for inbound travellers who have a valid vaccination certificate, including their booster shot certificate. The announcement was made by the country's Tourism Minister on Wednesday. As of now, the Mediterranean island nation requires travellers to either show their negative RT-PCR test report or self-quarantine upon arrival. But now, the country is planning to abolish these requirements as well for fully vaccinated people. Vaccine certificates for those who haven't received a booster shot will be accepted in case nine months haven't passed since they received their second dose. Cyprus is also an European Union member, therefore it will accept vaccination certificates from non-EU countries conforming those issued by the 27-member nation bloc. Those unvaccinated will be allowed to enter the country but they will have to follow the testing and quarantine requirements. Starting March 1, Cyprus is planning to introduce a simplified COVID-19 risk-assessment system for categorising nations. Unvaccinated travellers from the ‘green’ category will have to take a PCR test 72 hours prior to their flight, or a rapid or test 24 hours before departure. Unvaccinated travellers from the ‘red’ category countries will also have to undergo a PCR test in Cyprus at their own expense. Those coming from ‘grey’ category nations will need a special permission to enter Cyprus.