Devotees will not be allowed inside the famed Lord Krishna temple here for two weeks from Saturday with the area around it being declared a COVID-19 containment zone by the Thrissur district administration.
The decision to bar darshan for devotees for two weeks was taken at an urgent meeting of the Guruvayur Devaswom Administrative Committee on Friday, authorities said.
According to temple sources, as many as 22 employees of the devaswom tested positive for the infection on Friday.
Thrissur district in which Guruvayur is located reported 272 fresh COVID-19 cases on Friday and 393 on Thursday.
Announcing the decision to close the temple for public darshan, a devaswom press release said all regular pujas and basic rituals will be performed in the temple complex as usual.
Staring from December 12, virtual queue and direct darshan as well as darshan from near 'deepasthambham'and 'Thulabharam' and other offerings have been cancelled, the release stated.
Marriage parties who have already reached the temple for wedding scheduled on Saturday will be allowed to conduct the ceremony adhering to strict COVID-19 protocol.
However, after Saturday, no marriages would be allowed for two weeks,the temple authorities said.
The meeting also decided to subject all devaswom officials to antigen or RT-PCR test in the next three days and after which such a test would be conducted for them once a month.
Temple sources said a total of 153 employees of the Guruvayur Devaswom took antigen test on Friday and 22 of them were found positive for the viral infection.
The Lord Krishna temple, which draws large number of devotees from across the state and outside, was first closed for darshan on March 24 in view of the nation-wide lockdown.
It was re-opened for five days in June but closed again in view of spike in COVID-19 cases in Thrissur district then.
Devotees were being allowed from September 10 with strict COVID-19 protocol after online registration for the darshan.