Taking a serious note of the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases at the Sabarimala Sannidhanam, a high-level committee has decided to intensify the activities to check the outbreak of the disease among employees of various departments including the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB).
A meeting of the committee, held against the backdrop of 36 out of the 239 people on duty at the Sannidhanam testing positive the other day, decided to withdraw all primary contacts of the positive cases from the pilgrimage zone on an emergency basis and a list prepared by the Health Department will be handed over to the various departments. Steps have been initiated to ensure accurate reporting of the primary contacts to the health authorities.
The commercial establishment where an employee had tested positive was immediately closed down and seven others who had been working there were immediately taken out of the Sannidhanam. Inspections at business establishments in the region will be intensified further in the coming days. Efforts will be made to ensure strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol.
The meeting, attended by Police Special Officer B.K. Prasanthan Kani, Executive Magistrate C.P. Sathyapalan Nair and representatives of various other departments, also decided to take necessary steps for the smooth conduct of the festival at Sabarimala.
Meanwhile, increased incidence of sighting of wild animals, including leopards, along the Sabarimala route has forced the authorities to make slight changes in the travel timing of pilgrims. Devotees leaving the Nilackal base camp from 2.30 a.m will be allowed to the Sannidhanam from Pampa only from 4 p.m.
Prior to permitting the pilgrims, the Police and Forest departments will conduct patrolling on board tractors from the Sannidhanam to Pampa . Further, the first batch of devotees every day will be accompanied by a team of policemen on board a tractor.
The police have set up a state-of-the-art surveillance camera network comprising 76 cameras along the forest road from Chalakayam to Pampa. The footage captured by the network are being monitored round the clock from the special control rooms at both the Sannidhanam and Pampa.
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