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November 2020
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End of an era: Argentina football legend Diego Maradona dies        Greg Barclay elected ICC's Independent Chair        Have great respect for Indian bowlers but our batsmen have seen them a lot: Langer        Rupee rises 6 paise to 73.95 against US dollar in early trade        Biden seeks swift Cabinet votes, but GOP Senate stays silent        As virus cases spike, financial outlook for world's airlines dims        Nivar makes landfall, weakens into severe cyclonic storm        Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel passes away at 71        India's COVID-19 caseload goes past 92 lakh; no. of active cases increases by 6,079        Left Govt moves ahead with projects having no central clearances: Chennithala        Kerala Cabinet decides to approach Governor to repeal new ordinance        Kerala reports 5,420 new COVID cases, 5,149 recoveries: CM        Cyclone Nivar : heavy rain lashes Chennai, suburbs, govt holiday today        UP okays ordinance against conversion for marriage, violators face up to 10 yrs in jail        Govts have to work as team to ensure vaccination drive is smooth, sustained: PM Modi        ICC nominates Kohli, Ashwin for Men''s Player of the Decade Award        Rohit, Ishant to miss first two Australia Tests, also doubtful for remaining two: BCCI source        India''s home series against England to feature four Tests instead of five        Odisha pay the penalty as Hyderabad keep first-ever clean sheet        Looking at India squad, Surya could have been there: Brian Lara        
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Kerala News
Health advisory for Ayyappa pilgrims with two-month-long pilgrimage season set to start from Nov 16
 
Thiruvananthapuram: With the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala all set to commence its two month long annual Mandala-Makaravillaku season from November 16, the Kerala government has issued health advisoryto ensure strict compliance by pilgrims to standard protocols while trekking the hill shrine to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As religious congregations and pilgrimages have turned out to be hotbeds of transmission of the virus across the globe and in various parts of the country, the left government is keeping its fingers crossed as lakhs of pilgrims throng the state during the pilgrimage season.

The temple had been opened for devotees for five days last month during the monthly pujas, after remaining shut for over six months. Closed spaces with poor airflow, crowded places, close face to face contact among pilgrims have to be avoided and to ensure safe pilgrimage there is need to restrict the number of pilgrims being allowed each day, according to the advisory. The government has decided to allow 1000 pilgrims every day to offer prayers. Pilgrims must frequently handwash, maintain physical distance, use face mask and carry hand sanitiserswith them .

Those who have been recently exposed to the disease or who have had symptoms like cough, respiratory problems, loss of smell, fatigue should keep away from the arduousjourney. All pilgrims have to carry the COVID-19 negative certificate with tests done 24 hours before reaching base camp Nilakkal. They can also gettested from ''STEP'' kiosks run by the government or private agencies which have been arranged at major public places and throughout the way to Sabarimala, it was stated. As 10 per cent of patients who have recovered from covid may be having lingering symptoms which may persist uptothree weeks post recovery and two per cent may have symptoms which continue for over three months post recovery, such devotees should avoid the pilgrimage.

All those who have recovered from the disease and those who have been asymptomatic should undergo a graded exerciseprogramme and pulmonary rehabilitation programme spread over weeks to ensure their physical fitness before embarking on the pilgrimage. As a congregationof people can facilitate transmission of the disease, crowding of people at Nilakkal and Pamba base camps should be avoided. Drivers, cleaners and cooks accompanying the pilgrims also have to follow all the advisories to prevent spread of the virus. Acceleration of COVID-19 transmission through religious gatherings have been observed in many places in Malaysia, India, Pakistan and South Korea,according to the advisory.

Transmission of COVID has been witnessed at Lord Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati even after following strict COVID protocols. Many pilgrimages such asKailash and Amarnath Yatras had been suspended this year, while Hajj pilgrimage had been scaled down considerably. The Ayyappa temple had opened for devotees during the five day monthly pujas from October 17 after remaining shut for pilgrims since the past six months.


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