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Suryakant Jena

Puri: Amid demands for reopening of Puri Srimandir, the temple authorities on Monday informed that over 400 servitors and employees of the 12th-century shrine have tested positive for Covid-19 so far.

Puri Shree Jagannath Development Commissioner Ajay Jena informed mediapersons that a total of 351 servitors of the temple and 53 employees have been been infected with novel-Coronavirus.

The temple administration has said that despite a rise in the cases of virus infection, there is a shortage of servitors to perform rituals.

Earlier in the day, the State government in an explanation before the Orissa High Court expressed its unwillingness to reopen Puri Srimandir and other religious shrines in the State amid the Covid pandemic.

Highlighting the special case of Puri Jagannath Temple, the government mentioned that despite grim situation of the virus cases in the shrine, the daily nitis and rituals of the Holy Trinity have been continuing without any pause.

The government has however expressed concerns that if more servitors and officials of the temple get infected with novel-Coronavirus, it may hit the rituals at the shrine.

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