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Kerala raises daily pilgrim limit to 10,000 at Sabarimala

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on July 18, 2021

File photo   -  REUTERS/ SIVARAM V

Covid test positivity rate at 10.76 per cent on Saturday

Kerala has enhanced the daily limit of pilgrims permitted for the darshan at the hill shrine of Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta district Pooja from 5,000 to 10,000. The order came out late on Saturday evening and directed authorities to take necessary steps to ensure that the pilgrims follow Covid-19 protocols.

An earlier order issued in this connection had said that the monthly (Karkkidaka) pooja may be conducted from July 16 to 21 with maximum participation of 5,000 pilgrims after tweaking prevailing lockdown restrictions in force in the state.

Further relaxations announced

Also on Saturday, the lockdown was further relaxed in the run up to Bakrid with shops even in areas under a triple lockdown in place (‘D’ category with test positivity rate, TPR, of above 15 per cent) being allowed to open on Monday and further easing for ‘A’ and ‘B’ categories (TPR of up to 10 per cent).

Up to 40 persons who have received at least one dose of the vaccine will be allowed on special days inside places of worship against a pandemic-time cap of 20. But this is not applicable to the Friday and Sunday prayers/gatherings at mosques and churches respectively, according to an official spokesman.

Applicable shop categories

Textiles, footwear shops, jewellery, fancy stores, shops selling home appliances and shops selling electronic items, all types of repairing shops and shops selling essential items (already allowed in all categories of local self-government jurisdictions) shall be allowed to open from Sunday to Tuesday ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ categories. These shops would otherwise have been allowed to open only on Monday.

Beauty parlor and barber shops can function for hairstyling only on the days on which other shops are permitted in ‘A’ and ‘B’ category areas. Along with the other permitted activities, electronic shops and electronic repair shops can also be opened on all days from 7 am to 8 pm in category ‘A’ and ‘B’ areas during permitted days in other categories.

Shooting of cinema, serials

Places of worship can be allowed with maximum 40 persons on special occasions of celebration. Shooting of cinema shall be allowed as per the guidelines by strictly adhering to Covid protocols. Persons visiting shops and other establishments may belong to those with at least one dose of vaccine/Covid-recovered category and must follow strict protocols.

Beauty parlours and barber shops may also work provided they are manned by persons who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Workshops and spare parts shops too may remain open on prescribed days. Film shooting may also resume subject to the one-dose-of-vaccine norm.

Exemption for vaccinated

On Saturday, the State government officially declared that RT-PCR negative will not be required for specified purposes for those persons who have received two doses of the Covid vaccine. The person should carry the certificate showing two doses of vaccination while attending activities for which RT-PCR negative test is made mandatory, including inter-state travels, the relevant government order said.

It also said that those who have developed symptoms of Covid shall undergo an RT-PCR test and carry the negative result, the order signed by the Chief Secretary said. This came on a day when daily new cases counted in at 16,148 cases when 1,50,108 samples were tested at a TPR of 10.76 per cent.

Active Zika virus cases at 11

Earlier, following talks with the restive trading community, the government has declared its willingness to announce relaxations in view of Bakrid that falls on Wednesday and announced a series of easing for the A, B, C categories starting from Sunday with A and B categories being allowed even more leniency.

Saturday also saw the State report five more cases of Zika virus infections in the State with all of them being identified in the epicenter district of Thiruvananthapuram. This has taken the number of the infected so far to 35, with 11 active cases on Saturday, while the rest have since tested negative.

Published on July 18, 2021

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