Nipah outbreak: Kerala HC asks Govt to issue advisory for ongoing Kannimasa Puja at Sabarimala

Read Time: 03 minutes

The Kerala High Court has on September 15 asked the state health secretary to consider issuing advisory to Sabarimala pilgrims visiting the shrine between September 17 and 22 in view of Nipah virus outbreak in Kozhikode district.

Taking up a suo motu matter, a division bench of Justices Anil K Narendran and Sophy Thomas issued the directions after being informed that so far 34,860 virtual queue bookings have been made for Kannimasa Puja.

The court tool into record a submission from Senior Government Pleader, on instructions, from the Health Secretary, that the areas in Kozhikode District, where there is recent Nipah Virus outbreak, are declared as containment zones and there is complete restriction in the movement of persons within the containment zone. 

All persons, who had contacts with the those affected by Nipah Virus, have already been identified and they are also under quarantine, the court was informed.

The Standing Counsel for Travancore Devaswom Board, on instructions, submitted that, so far the total virtual queue booking during Kannimasa pooja is 34,860.

The Special Commissioner has filed a report calling for advisories, if necessary, from the Directorate of Health Services, Kerala in view of the recent Nipah Virus outbreak in Kozhikode District, as Sabarimala Temple opens for Kannimasa Pooja from September 17, 2023 till September 22, 2023.

"Having considered the submissions made at the Bar, we deem it appropriate to direct the Health Secretary, if found necessary, to issue advisory to Sabrimala pilgrims during Kannimasa Pooja from 17.09.2023 to 22.09.2023, with intimation to the Special Commissioner, Sabarimala and also Executive Officer, Sabarimala," the court said. 

After the confirmation of Nipah cases in Kerala, advisory has been issued also by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments to avoid travel in the affected areas.