A servitor of Puri Jagannath Temple has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, informed Puri District Collector Balwant Singh on Tuesday. The news came amid a curtailed Rath Yatra underway in Puri after the Supreme Court gave in to Centre and Odisha’s request, partially lifting its last weeks complete ban on the festival.
Covid 19 tests of 1,143 servitors were undertaken on Monday as per the direction of Supreme Court ahead of the Rath Yatra. Except for one all were found negative.
“Confirm case has been shifted to COVID Hospital before Rath Yatra rituals. Contact tracing is being done and the area has been contained,” said the Puri district administration in a tweet.
As per the top court order, no more than 500 people are allowed to pull the chariots. They are permitted to do that only if they have tested negative for Coronavirus. This number includes temple servitors and police personnel.
The festival marks the annual journey of the three deities — Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra — from the 12th century Jagannath temple to the Gundicha temple.
The festival ends after nine days when the deities make their way back to the Jagannath temple.
On Monday, the Supreme Court allowed the ‘Rath Yatra’ to be conducted in Odisha’s Puri amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, but with certain restrictions.
Following the top court’s direction, a partial curfew has been imposed in Puri and all the entry points to the town have been sealed since last night. No one would be allowed to come to the grand road.