Puri Rath Yatra: Jagannath temple servitor tests coronavirus positive

Bhubaneshwar (NVI): A servitor of Puri Jagannath Temple has been tested positive for Covid-19 as the seven-day Rath yatra began in the state of Odisha today after Supreme Court allowed the annual chariot festival yesterday while laying some guidelines on the conduct of rituals, in view of the pandemic.

COVID-19 tests of servitors were conducted yesterday as per the SC guidelines and one of them was tested positive and shifted to COVID hospital before the rituals begin, official sources said, adding that contact tracing was underway after the test reports came in.

In a historic first, the rituals for the world’s biggest chariot festival – Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra – began this morning in Odisha’s Puri without public attendance.

Yesterday, the apex court gave a go-ahead to the Odisha Government to make necessary arrangements to conduct the seven-day long chariot festival from today, while keeping in view the necessary Covid protocols including social distancing.

Following the top court’s order, the Puri district administration, temple priests and servitors, civic authorities, officials from the Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha made arrangements as per the guidelines issued.