The Sabarimala temple in Kerala will be opened for devotees from July 17 to 21, the state government said on Saturday, India Today reported. This came even as Kerala, along with Maharashtra, reported more than half of the coronavirus cases recorded in India last week.
Only devotees who have taken two shots of the vaccine or those who have a negative RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) tests issued within 48 hours of the visit to the temple will be allowed to enter, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
“A maximum of 5,000 people will be allowed through the virtual queue system daily,” the chief minister added.
In May, the Travancore Devaswom Board, which is the managing authority of the Ayyappa temple on the Sabarimala hill in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, had imposed a ban on the entry of pilgrims due to the worsening Covid-19 crisis.
But, the situation in the state does not seem to have improved much as the test positivity rate is still hovering between 10% to 11%. On Saturday, Kerala reported 14,087 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally since the pandemic broke out last year to 30,532,116. The toll rose by 109 to 14,489.
Amid this, authorities have also declared a state of alert in all districts of Kerala after identifying at least 14 cases of the Zika virus, which is spread mostly through mosquitoes.