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Omicron tally at 14 with five more testing positive: Jagannath, Lingaraj temple shut for 3 days

This is the biggest ever spike in Omicron infections in the State after first cases were reported on 21 December.

SNS | Bhubaneshwar |

The Omicron tally in the coastal State on Thursday went up to 14 with five more testing positive for the new variant of coronavirus, said State’s health authorities.

This is the biggest ever spike in Omicron infections in the State after first cases were reported on 21 December.

Samples of five COVID-19 infectees were genome sequenced and it has given a positive result at the diagnostic test at the Institute of Life Sciences-Bhubaneswar, the senior health department officials said.

The newly infected people have been hospitalized and contact tracing of those who were exposed to the infectees is on to arrest the rise of the mutant variant in the State.

Yesterday, a foreign returnee had tested positive. On December 26, four foreign returnees, 2 from Nigeria and as many from UAE, had tested positive for the Omicron variant. On December 23, two patients, aged 11 and 15, who recently returned from “non-at-risk” country Nigeria, were also found infected.

Prior to that, two patients, aged 41 and 43, had tested positive for the Omicron variant on December 21, after returning to the state from Nigeria and Qatar.

Meanwhile, the Sri Jagannath temple in Puri will remain closed on the New Year for the third consecutive year in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Srimandir will remain closed for devotees on December 31, January 1, and 2, and regular sanitisation of the temple premises.

Similarly, all religious institutions will remain closed for three days from tomorrow in Bhubaneswar to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its highly contagious new variant Omicron.

 “To protect the health and safety of the public, it has been decided that all religious institutions like temples, mosques, gurudwaras, churches etc. will remain closed to the public from 31st December 2021 to 2nd January 2022 within BMC jurisdiction. However, all rituals will be performed by servitors amid strict adherence to the Covid-19 protocols”, BMC stated in a statement on Thursday.