RT-PCR test not mandatory for children on Sabarimala pilgrimage: Kerala

Published on Nov 27, 2021 03:25 PM IST

Adult pilgrims and staff deployed to Sabarimala will have to show either a two-dose vaccination certificate or the RT-PCR negative certificate within 72 hours.

The Sabarimala shrine opened for the two-month mandalam and makaravilakku pilgrimage earlier this month. (ANI FIle Photo)
The Sabarimala shrine opened for the two-month mandalam and makaravilakku pilgrimage earlier this month. (ANI FIle Photo)
By | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi

Children can take part in the ongoing pilgrimage to the Sabarimala temple in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district without the mandatory RT-PCR test to detect coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the state government has said.

The Kerala government said in an order dated November 26 that parents and adults, accompanying the children on the Sabarimala pilgrimage will have to ensure that they carry soaps, sanitisers and mask and adhere to social distancing norms.

"The government is pleased to clarify that children are allowed to go on Sabarimala pilgrimage without RT-PCR test. Parents or adults accompanying the children shall ensure S.M.S. (soap/sanitizer, mask and social distancing) and they are accountable for the children's health issues," the order, which was tweeted by news agency ANI, said.

Also read | Devotees allowed to visit Sabarimala in batches after temporary ban lifted

However, the order signed by additional secretary B Surendran Pillai said adult pilgrims and staff deployed to Sabarimala will have to show either a two-dose vaccination certificate or RT-PCR negative certificate within 72 hours.

Hundreds of devotees have been trekking to the hill shrine to offer prayers to Lord Ayyappa since the temple opened on November 16 for the two-month-long annual mandalam and makaravilakku pilgrimage season.

Devotees are being allowed to visit the Sabarimala temple through a virtual queue system as part of efforts to regulate the flow of pilgrims in view of the coronavirus pandemic and heavy rains. This system was in place last year as well.

On Friday, Kerala reported 4,677 Covid-19 cases and 33 related deaths, taking the state’s tally to 51,12,789 and the death toll to 39,125, the health department said in a release.

Active cases of Covid-19 stand at 49,459, out of which only 7.2 per cent are in hospitals, it also said.

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