The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Tuesday said the Golden Temple will not be closed for pilgrims in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and devotees will be screened from Wednesday at the entrances of the shrine with the help of the Punjab health department.
After a meeting with Amritsar deputy commissioner Shivdular Singh Dhillon, police commissioner Sukhchain Singh Gill and civil surgeon Dr Prabhdeep Kaur Johal, SGPC senior vice-president Rajinder Singh Mehta said special arrangements will be made at the main entrances of the shrine for proper checking of devotees.
Medical staff of SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das Charitable Hospital along with teams of the health department will carry out the screening at one of the most visited religions shrines in the world.
An SGPC office-bearer privy to the proceedings of the meeting said the devotees will be allowed to enter from two points — Ghanta Ghar (main entrance) and Manji Sahib Diwan Hall for smooth checking.
If the shrine would closed for devotees like major worship places of other faiths, Mehta said, “Followers of all faiths offer prayers at the Golden Temple. It was not shut even during the worst times. It remained open even when Afghan invader Ahmed Shah Abdali attacked it and during the Operation Bluestar. There is no such need because precaution is the best method to contain the virus.”
SGPC staff to provide sanitiser to devotees
The SGPC has deployed its employees at the entrances to provide the devotees hand sanitisers. The staff will request the devotees to maintain certain distance from each others. Announcement for taking precautions will be made at the Parkirma.
Also, a dispensary will be set at the main entrance for on-the-spot medical check-up of ailing devotees. Two ambulances will being stationed for an emergency situation, an SGPC official said.