The order further stated that the administration would have to optimise the routes for the yatra so that there is maximum staggering and physical distance between the pilgrims.
Vaishno Devi pilgrimage: Number of visitors to Vaishno Devi shrine capped! The administration of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday decided that it would only allow a maximum of 5,000 pilgrims a day to visit the Vaishno Devi shrine near Katra between August 16 and September 30, a report by IE stated. The development came a few days after the Union Territory announced that it would be opening places of worship for the public from August 16. The decision has been taken keeping in mind the coronavirus pandemic.
The report stated that the order was issued by the State Executive Committee of the Disaster Management, Relief Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Department secretary. It stated that there would be an upper ceiling of 5,000 pilgrims per day till September 30, adding that of the 5,000 pilgrims, only a maximum of 500 pilgrims a day would be allowed to come from outside the UT.
The report further quoted the order as saying that the pilgrims would be made to enter in a manner that would be staggered, so that no more than 600 people, including the security personnel, service providers and pilgrims, would be gathered in the main bhavan area at one period of time.
The order further stated that the administration would have to optimise the routes for the yatra so that there is maximum physical distance between the pilgrims. It added that there should be sufficient physical distancing inside the shrine caves.
Apart from this, the registration of the pilgrims would be made mandatory and it would be allowed only through the online mode. Moreover, the testing of the pilgrims from outside the UT and from the red zones within the UT would also be required, the IE report stated.
The report further quoted the order as saying that the rapid antigen test facilities would be set up at several locations at the beginning of the yatra route to undertake random testing, so that any potential carrier of the COVID-19 infection could be identified. The exposed and frontline staff of the shrine board and other service providers in the areas would also be periodically tested for the possible spread of COVID-19 infection, the order stated.