Coronavirus outbreak: A Varanasi Shivlinga gets a protective mask; Here’s why

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Coronavirus in India: A Shivlinga in Varanasi has been accessorised with a protective mask. This comes at a time when everyone is being advised to take precautions against the novel coronavirus, which has spread across the world. According to an ANI report, the priests in the Prahladeshwar Temple have tied a mask around the Shivlinga. They have also put up posters requesting the devotees not to touch the idols. According to the report, a priest said that while the coronavirus outbreak is causing a global health emergency, if people touch the idols, it could lead to further spread of the disease.

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A report in HT quoted temple priest Krishna Anand to be saying that they have put masks on deities just like they put clothes on them when it gets cold and switch on ACs and fans when it gets hot. He further said that the move also aims to spread awareness about the spread of coronavirus among the devotees, so that they can take adequate precautions, the HT report added.

The novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, broke out in China's Wuhan rapidly in December last year, and spread to other places before Chinese government could effectively tackle the disease. The outbreak gained momentum in January this year and it has now affected 100 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). While the global death toll from the virus has crossed 4,000, with over 3,100 deaths having been reported from China. Meanwhile, the number of infected persons has reached nearly 1.2 lakh.

In India, the number of positive cases of coronavirus has reached 60, according to the Union Ministry of Health. Of them, 16 are Italians and the remaining are Indian nationals. Moreover, 12 of the positive cases have been reported from Kerala, including the three patients who have been cured and discharged. Meanwhile, the government said that it has evacuated as many as 948 passengers from coronavirus-affected countries. Of the evacuees, 900 are Indian nationals and 48 belong to different countries.