Kerala

33 COVID-19 cases at Sabarimala so far

With two more employees at the police mess testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 on Thursday, the total number of COVID-19 positive cases to be reported from Sabarimala during this year’s Mandalam-Makaravilakku season has risen to 33.

As per estimates, as many as 5,600 samples, including those of 4,703 pilgrims, have been collected at the testing kiosks in Nilackal over the past 11 days. Of the total cases tested positive, 11 were employees of various departments.

The officials, however, sought to allay the concerns of a potential health risk at Sannidhanam as adequate measures were being initiated to maintain social distancing among the staff on duty. Though only those employees testing negative for the infection were being permitted to the hill, these persons must undergo antigen tests during the incubation period, they added.

Potential risk

“Given the current rate of test positivity, the total number of cases over the season is projected to be less than 250. In case of raising the daily cap of pilgrims to 5,000, it may well go beyond 1,000 and managing this may require additional resources,” a health official said.

Speaking at a high-level meeting held at Sannidhanam on Thursday, District Medical Officer (DMO) A.L. Sheeja sought to exercise caution but held that the number of cases was fewer than expected. The DMO also directed that the officers serving continuously at Sabarimala be subjected to the COVID-19 test every fourteen days.

Meanwhile, steps are in place to carry out inspections using thermal scanners at the location. This is in addition to the disinfection drives being held in and around the temple using liquid chlorine.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 7:55:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/33-covid-19-cases-at-sabarimala-so-far/article33186468.ece

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