Considering the next 12 days as crucial for curbing the spread of coronavirus, the Odisha government on Thursday imposed restrictions on the entry of devotees to all places of worship in the state including Shree Jagannath temple.
No devotee or tourist will be allowed to access any temple, mosque, church or gurdwara from Friday to April 1 in order to ensure social distancing, which is most important to keep the deadly virus at bay, a senior official said.
The District Administration of Puri has issued directions restricting access of general public to Shree Jagannath Temple from Friday till April 1, state government’s chief spokesperson on COVID-19, Subroto Bagchi told reporters here.
He, however, clarified that essential rituals will continue as usual in temples as well as other places of worship.
Puri Jagannath temple is one among the four major Dhams of Hindus.
After careful consideration, the state government has directed all the District Magistrates to enforce the restrictions at all religious places to contain the spread of coronavirus which has so far killed four people in India.
Bagchi said so far, cumulatively 61 samples were tested of which 60 were found to be negative and only one was positive.
Currently, 23 people have been kept in isolation in different hospitals who have come in close contact with COVID-19 positive case, he said.
As part of the state government’s preparedness to deal with the menace, Bagchi said all district headquarters hospitals and Medical College hospitals have isolation facilities available and 3,183 isolation beds were ready across the state.
In urban areas, 450 buildings have been identified as centres to accommodate 51,160 persons while 7,176 temporary medical camps have been established in 6,798 gram panchayats with a capacity of 4,22,426 beds.
The government has also sensitised as many as 2.37 lakh panchayat functionaries on the deadly virus, Bagchi said, adding government has also decided to allow employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 to leave workplace immediately and avail leave for home quarantine for 14 days.
People living with a family member who has returned from a foreign visit on or after March 4, have also been asked to avail leave for self quarantine for 14 days, he said.
All group-C and group -D employees in the state secretariat and directorate have been allowed to remain at home from March 20 to March 31. However, group-A and group-B Officers will be required to attend the office.
Jail Superintendents have also been instructed to identify a designated ventilated place as isolation room for suspected cases. The government has allowed e-mulakat system in district jails, he said.
All high-end salons, beauty parlours, spas have been ordered to remain shut until further orders while major ecotourism centres like Similipal National Park and Bhitarkanika Nature Camp, all the zoos in the state too have been closed, he said.
All examinations including final semester and back paper of BPUT and VISSUT have been postponed till further orders. Higher Secondary Exam-2020, which was to begin on March 23, also stands postponed, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently appreciated Odisha’s efforts to fight the deadly virus.