Six foreign tourists who tried to sit out the coronavirus pandemic in an Indian cave after running out of money have been sent to coronavirus quarantine, according to police.
The four men and two women – from France, the United States, Ukraine, Turkey and Nepal – had been living in the cave near Rishikesh in Uttarakhand state, northern India since March 24, according to police inspector Rajendra Singh Kathait.
There have also been unconfirmed reports of some police officers in the state allegedly making foreign tourists write out lines on paper for breaking the curfew.
The area was made famous by the Beatles, who came to Rishikesh in 1968 looking for refuge from Beatlemania and to experience Indian culture.
The foreign tourists have now been moved to Swarg Ashram, where they will be quarantined for 14 days, although none have shown coronavirus symptoms.
‘Before the lockdown began, they were living in a hotel in the Muni Ki Reti region but they moved to the cave after they ran out of money,’ Kathait said.
‘However, they had saved some money to buy food and other supplies.’
The Nepali man had been helping the group buy essential items, Kathait added.
India has been under a nationwide lockdown since late March, with residents permitted to leave their homes only for essential services such as buying groceries or medicine.
The lockdown was due to be lifted on April 15, but has been extended to at least May 3.
Some sectors – including agriculture and manufacturing – will be allowed to re-open from Monday to ease the hardships of poorer Indians.