The Thaipusam celebrations at the Sri Subramaniar Temple in Batu Caves next weekend will go on as planned, despite the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) being declared as a global health emergency, announced the temple management today.

The temple chairman R Nadarajah said it is not possible to stop the massive annual religious festival, where some 1.5 million are expected to attend, despite the scare.

"We cannot stop tourists from China from coming. It is up to the government to do something, if it wants do.

"Don't worry about the corona (virus). If it is written in your head, you will get it, you will get it anyhow. You can't escape," he told a joint press conference with the Gombak police this afternoon, further advising devotees and visitors to wear masks for their own safety.

Asked about the outbreak will cause lesser visitors to grace the event, Nadarajah said the opposite could happen.

"More devotees will come to pray for their own safety, and others'.

"That is Hindu belief, to ask for protection from the Almighty."

Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak, which originated from Wuhan, China, a public-health emergency of international concern.

So far, more than 7,000 people have been stricken with the virus worldwide, and over 200 of them have died. Malaysia has recorded 8 cases - all involving China nationals.

According to Nadarajah, the temple management will have a "special prayer session" for the threat of the corona virus to decrease, and will also try to supply face masks to devotees at the temple.

He also said that the temple management had written to the Health Ministry and Selayang Hospital to help monitor the situation, and that about 1,800 medical personnel will be on standy at the temple.

Nadarajah also adviced devotees to dress, and behave decently.

Meanwhile, Gombak police chief ACP Arifai Tarawe, who was also present at the press conference, laid down several rules for the visitors and devotees to follow.

This include not setting off firecrackers, no flying of unathorised drones, no indiscriminate parking and illegitimate collection of parking fees.

"We have sufficient manpower to monitor the situation and ensure the safety at the temple, round the clock.

"Indiscriminately parked cars will be clamped, or towed away. Those illegally collecting parking fees will be caught and fined.

"I would also like to strongly warn against setting off firecrackers at the temple or the areas surrounding it. We will not hesitate to arrest those who do it. We do not want a recurrence of last year's incident," he said, referring to the tragedy which 34 people being wounded, after 2 men set off firecrackers at the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) elevated intersection.

Arifai also cautioned against the unauthorised flying of drones during the festival.

"If you want to fly a drone, make sure you seek permission from the DCA (Department of Civil Aviation), and inform the police. Unauthorised drones found flying in the area will be taken down," he warned.

Arifai also detailed the roads that will be closed a few days before, and during the festival, and the alternative roads that will be available for visitors.

Photo source: Sri Subramaniyar Temple Batu Caves Facebook