Amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, there have been various travel bans that have been issued. First it was the countries, now it is even the shrine boards. In the light of recent events, darshan at iconic shrines like Tirupati and Vaishno Devi has been temporarily banned for foreigners and NRIs.
In India, one of the main locations for large gatherings are pilgrimage sites. It is not only Indians who visit these places often, but people from around the world too. NRI’s, foreigners from around the world travel all the way to say a prayer and seek blessings of God. But given the recent spike in Coronavirus related incidents, advisory has been issued by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) requesting NRIs and Foreigners to not visit the shrines for at least 28 days after they arrive in the country.
Measures That Are Being Taken
According to reports, thermal scanning has been made mandatory at Tarakote, Banganga and Katra helipads in Jammu. In Andhra Pradesh, as per reports, ‘special task forces have been deployed at Srivari, Alipiri and Mettu routes to the temple, with medical equipment and thermal guns to check if any pilgrim is suffering’ from symptoms of cold, cough or fever.
The pilgrims who have made bookings for darshan in advance, are being offered refund by the TTD as well. And SMVDSB revealed that the shrines are being disinfected at least four times a day. Recently, Section 144 was also imposed in the Rajouri district of Jammu, which implied that the gathering of more than five people under one roof is not permitted.
The government also shut the Kartarpur corridor; which means that the pilgrimage to the iconic gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, will not be allowed.