In view of the increasing spread of Coronavirus in India, the officials at the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Temple in Mumbai suspended public visits to the temple starting from Wednesday till further notice.
"The health and safety of the public are of paramount importance. I know this step has disappointed many devotees but I would urge the devotees not to panic as this is just a precautionary measure," Naveen Neerada Dasa, spokesperson ISKCON Temple told ANI.
He suggested that social distancing would help in curbing the spread of Coronavirus, and it would only last for a few weeks. He informed that the daily aartis and special sevas at the temple will be held regularly by the devotees residing at the Temple. The prayers can be viewed live on the official website of the Temple, he added.
"Even the resident devotees are taking extreme precautions. We have sanitisers installed everywhere. Even during artis, we maintain a distance of 3 feet from each other," Dasa added.
The famous Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra was also closed on Wednesday. Operations of all inter-state buses, both incoming and outgoing, from Jammu and Kashmir have been banned Wednesday onwards. The yatra is usually open throughout the year, but now joins a growing list of religious places and yatras that are being temporarily closed on account of the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Shrine Board appealed to the pilgrims to postpone their visit to the temple till normalisation of the situation. The Temple has adopted preventive measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19 and began thermal screening at several points of the pilgrimage.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India reached 150, including 25 foreign nationals, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday. Globally, the virus has infected more than 200,000 people and killed more than 8000, as per the data available on the World Health Organisation website.
(With inputs from ANI)