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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

The Srimandir at Puri will remain out of bounds for devotees from January 10 (Monday) to January 31, the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) announced on Friday in the backdrop of the alarming spike in COVID19 cases in Odisha. 

With the State government stressing on the need for tighter control measures to arrest the rapid surge of virus cases, the SJTA and Chatisa Nijoga decided to close the doors of Srimandir for public during a meeting today, informed Puri district Collector Samarth Verma.

"Under the chairmanship of SJTA's Chief Administrator, a virtual meeting was organised with Chhatisa Nijog including several others wherein it was decided to close the temple," said Verma. 

Verma stated that the prevailing pandemic condition has set alarm bells ringing with the existing strain of Delta variant and mutant Omicron spreading tentacles across the State. Moreover, the new variant is highly transmissible and the State is reporting large number of new cases every day with higher doubling rates.

"It is a matter of serious concern as temple servitors are getting infected in more numbers. On the other hand, large number of devotees are thronging the temple from different places, creating a vulnerable situation. Therefore, such a decision was taken so that the temple rituals don't get affected. Safety of servitors is our top priority," he said.

Further, Verma informed that the temple will remain closed for the public from January 10 to 31. As per the current restrictions, the temple remains closed for public darshan every Sunday and it will continue.

As the entire nation remains in a state of high alert with the rising Covid cases, Odisha had issued a new set of guidelines to curb the spread of the virus on Wednesday. The new restrictions came into effect from today and will continue till February 1.

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