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Going to Tirumala? Be prepared for thermal screening

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on March 13, 2020 Published on March 14, 2020

Tirumala devotees being screened for Covid-19 at Alipiri on Friday

Suspected to be shifted to isolation wards, dip seen in number of devotees

If you’re planning to visit Tirumala for a darshan of Lord Balaji, ensure that you are in good health. Otherwise, you may end up in an isolation ward.

As a preventive measure in the wake of increasing concerns over the spread of the Coronavirus, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has set up medical relief camps and kept thermal guns ready to screen devotees suffering from cold and fever. After subjecting them to thermal screening, patients found to be ‘suspicious’ are advised to approach Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences for a further check-up.

These camps have been set up at Alipiri toll gate, Alipiri footpath and Srivari Mettu on the Chandragiri side.

“If any symptoms are identified, the pilgrim will be stopped from entering Tirumala and diverted to isolation wards at Ruia Hospital for medication,’’ said TTD Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal. Padmavati Nilayam at Tiruchanoor has been allowed to be utilised as an isolation ward.

If needed the TTD choultries near Tirupati railway station will also be allotted for this purpose. Medical teams and materials have been also been kept ready.

Numbers dip

There has been an 8 to 10 per cent decrease in the number of devotees visiting daily, per the available data. In the last couple of weeks, the number of pilgrims has decreased from 75,000-80000 to 60,000-65,000.

Officials are expecting a further decrease in number of devotees in the days ahead. Interestingly, those who have time slots and decide to go will now have an easy darshan without having to wait in the Vaikuntam queues.

As a matter of precaution, only 250 devotees will be allowed in each compartment of the Vaikuntham Queue Complex as against the usual figure of 450-500 people to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and those who have returned from abroad have been advised not to go to Tirumala for at least 28 days from the date of their arrival in the country.

An option to change dates or to get a refund on cancellation for devotees holding arjitha Seva, ₹300 darshan and accommodation booked in advance till May 31 has been provided.

A sanitation and cleaning drive has also been taken up at an interval of every two hours in Tirumala, where pilgrim congregation is higher.

Published on March 14, 2020
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