File photo | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government on Saturday exempted children below ten years of age from cumpulsory RT-PCR testing before visiting the famed Sabarimala temple.
In a fresh directive, it said that the elders should ensure that the children accompanying them strictly observe the Covid protocols and wear a mask, carry a sanitiser and maintain social distancing.
The order also states that the elders are accountable for the children's health issues.
However, the above ten age pilgrims must either carry a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours or should have taken both the vaccine jabs.
The two-month long temple season that began on November 16 will end in the third week of January with a few days' break.
As a precautionary measure, this season the daily number of devotees has been limited to a maximum of 30,000 which should be either pre-booked or should get a spot booking, for which counters have been opened.
By now over 1.3 million pilgrims have pre-booked their temple visit, as per the temple authorities.
Incidentally this temple which is the biggest earner for the Travancore Devasom Board- the body that runs this temple and numerous others in the South Kerala districts-- has been having a troubled festive season since 2018.
While the previous season was badly affected by Covid, this time in the first ten days after it opened, by now Rs 10 crores has come by way of offerings and sale of "appom" and "aravana (payasem)" as the "prasad."