Indian officials rescued six tourists, including an American, who had been hiding in a cave for nearly a month from the coronavirus pandemic.
The Laxman Jhula Police Department said that the tourists were staying at a hotel in Muni Ki Reti, India, but retreated to a cave near the banks of the Ganges when they could no longer afford to pay for their rooms.
They have been staying in the cave since March 24, the day Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a nationwide lockdown in an effort to fight against the spread of the deadly virus.
The four men and two women group was tested for coronavirus after being picked up by the police on Saturday, in which they fortunately tested negative.
However, the tourists will still be quarantined for 14 days at a spiritual sanctuary in Swarg Ashram as a precautionary measure even if they are not showing any signs of symptoms.
The group includes Michael Falcone from Connecticut, who has been in the country since November, which others are from Ukraine, Turkey, France and Nepal.
According to reports, tourists found overstaying in the country will not be penalized as the Indian government extended their visa’s validity to May 3 as part of the nationwide lockdown.
According to Dheeraj Singh Gabriyal, district magistrate of the Pauri Garhwal district, about 50 American citizens are scheduled to leave Uttarakhand on Wednesday, with the help of the U. S. embassy, but Falcone will not be able to join them.
Gabriyal said in an interview, “Right now they have to finish their 14 (day) quarantine period first. Once that’s complete, arrangements can be made to repatriate them”
The State Department official also said that they are aware of the situation, but will not further comment about the case due to privacy concerns.