Time for pilgrims has been restricted at Shwedagon Pagoda on Theingutra Hill in Yangon to prevent the spread of COVID-19 around the world.
“To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and for the convenience of pilgrims to the Shwedagon Pagoda, we have restricted time for worshiping the pagoda as of this morning,” said an official from the pagoda board of trustees.
Pilgrims are allowed to visit the pagoda from 9 am to 4 pm every day. Previously, pilgrims could visit the pagoda from 4 am to 10 pm. Moreover, lifts at stairways have been suspended.
“Lifts have been suspended as of today. They were installed for the convenience of elderly people and children but it is very dangerous to use lifts at the moment due to the outbreak of the disease. Therefore, we do not allow elderly people and children to visit the pagoda. It is also unlikely to organize ceremonies to donate blood and to set free animals on Myanmar new year day,” he added.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, temperature screening is conducted at reception counters at the four stairways and washbasins have been installed there. Face mask are also distributed at the pagoda.
Vinyl posters of directives for prevention of COVID-19 are posted at all corners of the pagoda while the directives are announced through loudspeakers in the precinct of the pagoda. Moreover, sanitation tasks are carried out in on the platform, in prayer halls and lifts and along stairways at night with the use of soap water and sanitizer. In a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19, preaching sermons and organizing meditation sessions have been prohibited in the precinct of the pagoda. The pagoda board of trustees has also banned visits of monks and nuns from various parts of the country to the monasteries and nunneries in the precinct of the pagoda until the reception of further directives from the Ministry of Health and Sports.
The restriction time for pilgrims, suspension of lifts and installation of washbasins will be supplicated to 11 patron abbots of the pagoda at their respective monasteries.
The number of local and foreign visitor to the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the world’s wonders, has dramatically dropped due to the outbreak of COVID-19 around the world.
Wun Yan Kha