Keeping in view the spike in COVID-19 cases in Odisha, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on Sunday decided to close the 12th century shrine for devotees in order to undertake disinfection on every Sunday from next week. SJTA chief Krishan Kumar said after consultation with
the Chhattisha Nijog (temple servitors body) it has been decided to keep the temple doors close for devotees on Sundays.
However, the daily rituals at the temple will continue, Kumar said, adding that this kind of restriction was also imposed earlier after the temple reopened to public in December last year.
Meanwhile, sources said the SJTA had made arrangement for vaccination of servitors and their family members as they come in contact with people visiting the temple from across the country and abroad.
The temple administration has also enforced strict adherence of the COVID-19 guidelines as each devotee entering into the shrine are asked to get their hand sanitized and wearing a face mask is a must.
This apart, devotees are suggested to maintain social distancing outside and inside the temple, an official said, adding that the Puri district administration has already issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the general public and servitors.
So far 14,547 people including 6 persons on Sunday have tested positive for COVID-19 in Puri district of whom 14,384 have recovered from the disease. The district currently has 42 active COVID-19 cases while 118 persons died of COVID, a health department official said.
Meanwhile, a servitor sustained injuries as an old stone idol of "Hiranya Kashap" fell on his leg while washing the huge Lord Nrushingha statue in the western side of the temple on Sunday.
"The SJTA has made treatment arrangement of the injured servitor at a hospital in Bhubaneswar," Kumar said.