Ahead of the Janmashtami festival, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Vrindavan has been sealed on Tuesday, after 22 people, including priests tested positive for Coronavirus. As many as 743 staff of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) in Andhra Pradesh’s Tirumala  including including some priests of the Lord Venkateswara shrine have also tested positive for COVID-19.

“Movement of people has been restricted and the temple has been sealed,” the officials said.

Krishna Janmashtami  celebrates the birthday of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. who was born on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha in Shraavana or Bhadrapad, falling in August- September.

This year, the festival is being celebrated from August 11 to August 12, with most of the people fasting on August 12 to mark the occasion.

Meanwhile, the district administration of Mathura has banned the entry of outsiders in the city from August 11 to 13 during Janmashtami celebrations due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier, as many as 743 staff of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) including including some priests of the Lord Venkateswara shrine at Tirumala have tested positive for COVID-19 and three have succumbed to the virus since June 11, a top TTD official said.

Of the 743 infected, three employees succumbed to the dreaded contagion and about 402 personnel have recovered so far from infection while 338 people were undergoing treatment at different COVID care facilities, TTD Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal told reporters.

The famous Lord Venkateswara temple in nearby Tirumala governed by the TTD had re-opened on June 11 for public after being close for two and a half months owing to the coronavirus-induced lockdown, he said.

Singhal denied reports in sections of the media and on social media that TTD had reopened the hill shrine after the coronavirus lockdown for the public with an intention to fill its coffers.

He said the ancient temple was reopened on requests from devotees and entry was allowed by following strict COVID-19 measures.