Amid rising Covid cases in Bengaluru, Vaikunta Ekadasi rush sparks concern

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Vishnu temples are gearing up for Vaikunta Ekadashi celebration on January 2.

BENGALURU: Notwithstanding the precautionary measures being suggested, the number of Covid cases is gradually increasing in the city. The total number of active Covid-19 cases rate has suddenly increased from two digits to four digits at 1,264.

However, in other major cities, the active case count is still in double digits. While Delhi has recorded 35 positive cases, Mumbai has 44 positive cases and Chennai 25. While there are concerns about a Covid surge in the New Year, the Union Health Ministry also warned that a 40-day period will be crucial.

Meanwhile, the city is preparing for the auspicious occasion of Vaikunta Ekadasi on January 2 and a large number of devotees are expected to throng temples. This is the first religious ritual in the calendar year temples of Lord Vishnu temples are gearing up for the occasion with cleaning and decorations. Some temples have put up notices that they will remain closed on Sunday.

On the other hand, health experts have cautioned about the rising Covid-positive cases. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike is also taking steps to ensure Covid regulations to prevent the spread of infection while the Health Department has kept medical facilities ready and even conducted mock drills.

Cleaning and decoration work going at at a temple in the city.

While the BBMP is working of various ways to control the spread of the infection, it is also planning to prevent large gatherings. Palike Special Commissioner (Health)┬áThrilok Chandra said, “Devotees are preparing to observe Vaikunta Ekadashi after two long years. About one lakh devotees are expected to visit the popular Kote Sri Venkataramanaswamy temple. There is a plan to extend the visiting hours till midnight as it is believed that “the doors of the heaven open on that day. People will be busy with the festivities and cannot be expected to follow Covid guidelines”, he noted.

Trilokchandra, Special Commissioner of the BBMP said the civic body is taking all precautionary measures.

The special commissioner said, “Health officials are conducting 2 per cent random testing of international travellers. If anyone tests positive, they will be in home isolation or get admitted to hospitals. We are focusing more of ILI/SARI cases and the primary contacts of the infected. We will stick to that approach. Right now, we are focusing on testing. After completing 7 days quarantine, we will test the primary contacts also”, Thrilok Chandra added.

A banner put up at a temple informing devotees that the temple will be closed on Sunday.

A grand celebration will be held in Tirumala Tirupati temple at Vaiayalikaval on Vaikunta Ekadasi and the temple management is gearing up for the rush of devotees. The BBMP too is planning to deploy marshals in front of temples to ensure that people are masked and are following Covid guidelines. Last year too, the BBMP had deployed marshals at all temples and religious places to ensure that devotees follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and maintain social distancing at public places.

Meanwhile, international travellers coming from high-risk countries including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan and Thailand will have to produce a Covid-negative certificates with effect from 10 am on January 1, 2023. The reports should not be more than 72 hours old and should be uploaded on the Air Suvidha portal.

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