PURI/BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Wednesday announced to conduct a second round Covid-19 test for servitors associated with the conduct of Rath Yatra along with police personnel and employees of different departments who were deployed on ground for the festival. The tests would be conducted before Bahuda Yatra (return journey of the Holy Trinity) that would be held on July 1.
Around 2,000 servitors will have to undergo second round of tests before the chariots take ‘Dakhina Moda’ (south turn) on June 28, Development Commissioner and vice chairman of the temple managing committee Suresh Chandra Mahapatra said. Swab samples of around 5,000 persons, including servitors, police personnel, employees of the temple administration and different departments and sanitisation workers will be tested.
“Only those found negative for Covid-19 will be allowed to participate in Bahuda Yatra. All sevayats have been asked to take necessary precautions against the virus. The entire Puri town will be sanitised during the festival days,” Mahapatra said. The district administration has been asked to constitute two health teams which would visit every servitor family to enquire about their health condition.
They will also sensitise them about the safety guidelines of novel coronavirus. Of the 1,000 police personnel on duty during Rath Yatra, swab samples of 500 have already been collected at a camp at Gopabandhu Ayurvedic College and the rest will be collected in next few days. Additional Chief Secretary of Health department PK Mohapatra said two testing laboratories at Bhubaneswar have been assigned to conduct the tests on a priority basis.Arrangements have been made to test around 800 samples every day.
The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has decided to provide face mask and sanitiser to all servitors. Chief Administrator Dr Krishan Kumar said, “A health centre equipped with doctors and paramedical staff would be established to treat the servitors and their family if they suffer from any health complications. All precautionary health measures are being taken as per the Supreme Court directive,” he said. A day before the Rath Yatra, one servitor among the 1,143, who had undergone tests, was found Covid-19 positive. Test reports of his family members are awaited.