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SJTA Opens Covid Care Centre

Puri: The Shree Jagannath Temple   Administration (SJTA) Wednesday opened a 120-bed Covid Care Centre (CCC) here for treatment of COVID-19 patients as 50 people including 22 servitors of the temple have tested positive for the infection, an official said.

SJTA Chief Krishan Kumar said the CCC is being operated from the Nilachal Bhakta Nivas campus and each bed is having oxygen support.

Dr.Kumar said to start with, 50 infected persons linked to the temple have been admitted to the CCC. They comprise 22 servitors and their family members, 19 staff of shoe stand and nine staff of SJTA.

Dr.Kumar said an ambulance is kept ready at the CCC to shift any patient to the referral COVID-19 Hospital if her/she turns critical. This apart, the CCC is stocked with all medicines and other logistics to treat the patients.

The SJTA Chief also informed that apart from the servitors, arrangements have been made to vaccinate the carpenters, painters, tailors and others to be engaged in making the wooden chariots of the Lords for the annual Ratha Jatra.

Dr.Kumar said all people above 18 years linked with the temple will be inoculated from May 1.

SJTA on Wednesday decided to begin the process of identifying the servitors to be involved in the process of annual Rath Jatra of the Trinity and their vaccination.

Considering the surge in COVID-19 cases and sevayats returning from Haridwar Kumbh Mela testing positive for the virus, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration has formed a  7-member committee to make preparations for the annual Rath Yatra.

The team will track, check and ensure testing of servitors to be involved in the annual festival (chariot construction) besides the events preceding the Rath Yatra, after examining their health condition.

The family members of selected servitors too will have to undergo the required tests.

With the annual events like Chandan Jatra, Akshay Tritiya and other such events set to be celebrated next month, it was also decided to vaccinate all the servitors above the age of 18 in the new phase of inoculation which is scheduled to start from May 1.

With the rise in COVID cases, a meeting of the SJTA scheduled on Saturday will decide on a new set of standard operating procedures for the devotees.