Two servitors of Puri Jagannath Temple test positive for COVID-19

Puri: Two servitors of Sri Jagannath Temple here have tested positive for Novel-Coronavirus. The matter came to fore after the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) received the swab reports of the servitors involved in the Rath Yatra.
“More than 2,600 servitors were tested for Covid-19, out of which two were found positive. Later, they were admitted to Sri Jagannath Medical College and Hospital on July 14 and 15,” said Subrat Behera, SJTA COVID nodal officer.
In the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Supreme Court of India, in its verdict on June 18, had stalled the centuries-old annual festival across Odisha, but, after much hue and cry, the apex court, on June 22, gave its nod to conduct the grand festival only in Puri with certain guidelines.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde directed the state government to impose curfew in Puri during the time when the chariots would be taken out in the procession.
The SC had also asked the state government to ensure that each chariot would be pulled by not more than 500 people and all of them have to test negative for Coronavirus.
It also had directed that those engaged in pulling the chariots shall maintain social distancing before, during and after the Rath Yatra.
Following the SC’s hearing, the state government had launched a massive drive to test around 5,000 people associated with Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra for Covid-19, including servitors, police personnel and municipality staff.
On 22 June, just a day before the Rath Yatra, samples of 1,143 servitors were tested out of which one was tested positive.

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