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Puri Admin, Jagannath Temple Mgmt Geared Up For Battling Covid Situation At Srimandir

Puri: With hundreds from the Puri Srimandir servitors’ community testing positive for novel-coronavirus, an emergency meeting was held under the chairmanship of Puri Collector to review the Covid situation, with a focus on containing the further spread of the virus amongst the servitors and employees.

The district authorities and temple administration expressed unwillingness to reopen Puri Srimandir, and are now concerned about the impact the daily positives might have on the Nitis and rituals of the Holy Trinity.

The meeting comprised members of the temple managing committee, Srimandir administrator (ritual), development commissioner, CDMO and Puri Collector.

Two teams under Assistant Revenue Commissioner have been formed to make sure critical servitors do not deviate from the Covid guidelines.

Situation is improving as those coming for Covid test from servitor community or are admitted at special Covid care centres are showing improvement in health condition. We are seeing a downward trend in positive cases. At present, only 29 persons are in two CCCs, which is a good sign.

As per temple administration’s feedback, around 600 from the servitors’ community have been infected so far, of which many have recuperated.

The major focus now will be to ensure daily rituals are unaffected due to such uninvited situation. We have chalked out a plan and strict restrictions will be in place at the main gate of the temple and inside the premises. Wearing of masks is mandatory, spitting is prohibited, no gatherings allowed inside the temple, social distancing guidelines to be followed during rituals. This apart, officers deployed will look after special security arrangements and other requirements. We will also make sure people don’t come out of isolation after 10 days of testing positive.

A Covid cell has been set up at the temple office to coordinate with positive patients. Any servitor found positive will immediately intimate the cell and in case they need a referral, the cell would communicate with the health administration and shift them in ambulance to Covid hospitals in Bhubaneswar, if required.

– Puri Collector Balwant Singh

The meeting discussed frequent checking of mask-wearing under any given circumstances. Further, the administration will ensure ambulances are equipped with ventilators.

Though there will no disruption in Niti and rituals now, a member of the temple committee stated it may get disrupted in case of more infection and has expressed fear of transmission as was seen at Balaji Temple in Tirupati when it reopened. Under these circumstances, the State government should decide whether it is practical and safe to reopen the doors of the 12th century to devotees, he said.

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