The Kanipakam temple in Andhra’s Chittoor district has been temporarily closed after a home guard working at the temple tested positive for coronavirus. The temple will now remain closed for 48 hours to carry out disinfection works, and will re-open for devotees on Thursday, according to reports.
The Varasidhi Vinayaka Swamy Temple in Kanipakam is one of the popular Hindu pilgrim sites in Chittoor district, other than the Venkateswara temple in Tirumala and the Srikalahasti temple. Incidentally, similar incidents have occurred at the Srikalahasti temple, as well as the Govindaraja Swamy temple in Tirupati run by the TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams).
While the Centre had allowed the reopening of religious places of worship post lockdown from June 8, most major temples in Andhra Pradesh reopened on June 10 or 11. The temple authorities conducted trial runs with staff members and local residents in the initial days, to assess the capacity to handle visitors while maintaining guidelines for preventing COVID-19 spread.
The re-opening of the Srikalahasti temple was earlier postponed after the temple priest tested positive for coronavirus. Trial runs have now begun at the temple starting from Monday.
The home guard at the Kanipakam temple was reportedly tested as part of routine testing conducted for all staff members of the temple, as a precautionary measure.
Incidentally, Kanipakam and Srikalahasti temple authorities, as well as the TTD, had earlier provided their accommodation facilities for the state government to set up COVID-19 quarantine centres.
As of Monday morning, Andhra Pradesh has recorded a total of 6,456 COVID-19 cases. Of these, 5,087 are local cases while the rest are people who have returned to the state from other states or countries after the lockdown started. So far, 86 people have died from COVID-19 in the state, as per health department numbers. Kurnool district has recorded the most number of cases and deaths so far.
So far, 3,385 people in Andhra Pradesh have recovered from COVID-19.