Recently, the health department, in a statement, had stated that strict protocols would be implemented to curb the spread of the virus in the first Mandala-Makaravilakku in the Covid-19-struck Kerala. The department has worked out a comprehensive plan of action to provide hospitals, ambulances, and to be prepared to dispense top medical facilities to the arriving devotees. According to the health department, medical personnel will be stationed at Sannidhanam, Charalmedu, Pampa, Nilackal and Erumeli health dispensaries. At Sannidhanam, an operation theatre will be functioning if it ever becomes necessary.
Medical care provisions at Erumeli Community Health Centre, Kanjirappaly General Hospital and Pathanamthitta Government General Hospital are at the disposal of the devotees visiting the Sabarimala hill shrine. The Government Medical College Hospital in Kottayam will be on standby. The state health department has chosen a total of 48 government and private hospitals in Kottayam and Pathanamthitta for the same.
For devotees who are benefiting from the Kerala healthcare scheme Karunya Arogya Surkshana Padhathi (KASP), the state government has decided to administer free Covid-19 treatment.
Health principal secretary Dr Rajan Khobragade states that in the case of Covid-19 related illness, above poverty line devotees and those that are not under the KASP will be treated for free in government hospitals or as government-referred patients admitted in private hospitals. However, for the treatment of non-Covid ailments, the non-KASP people that are above the poverty line devotees from the state or outside the state should be charged based on the cost of treatment.
Devotees arriving from other states can use the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) to avail treatments. However, their Covid-19 treatment will be based on the cost depending on their choice of government or private hospitals.
Earlier, the health department had specified that all pilgrims must carry a Covid-19 negative certificate, which must be produced 24 hours before arriving at Nilackal. At least 1,000 medical staff members and specialist doctors will be present at Sabarimala in various phases from November 15 to January 19, 2021, to help devotees.