The famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala and all other major temples will be out of bounds for devotees while malls and cinema halls would be closed down in Andhra Pradesh till March 31 to check the spread of coronavirus, the state government announced on Thursday.
The restrictions would come into force from Friday, Deputy Chief Minister for Medical and Health A K K Srinivas (Nani) said briefing reporters after a high-level meeting on COVID-19, chaired by Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy.
The daily rituals in all these temples will, however, be performed by the priests. Only the devotees will not be allowed, he said.
Besides the cash-rich Lord Venkateswara temple near Tirupati thronged by devotees from across the country, others that would be barred for pilgrims' entry include the Kanaka Durga shrine in Vijayawada, Srisailam (Lord Shiva), Annavaram (Satyanarayana Swamy) and Kanipakam (Vinayaka).
Similarly, major places of worship of other religions would also be closed, the deputy chief minister said.
Andhra Pradesh is the latest to join a number of states, including Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, that have announced a virutal lockdown and the announcement came on the day when it reported its second positive case of coronavirus.
Malls and cinema halls would be closed down while bars and restaurants were being asked to maintain social distancing, he said.