Covid -ve report must for Jagannath Temple visit

Bhubaneswar: The district administration in Odisha's Puri, where the iconic Shree Jagannath Temple attracts lakhs of visitors, on Tuesday made it mandatory for travellers from five states to produce COVID-19 negative certificates in view of spiralling cases, an official said.

The coastal state reported 588 fresh infections on Tuesday, pushing the tally to 3,43,856. The Puri district administration, in a review meeting, decided that people travelling to the pilgrim town must produce RT-PCR negative reports at the railway station and bus stands.

Producing certificates of two vaccine doses will also be accepted, Puri District Magistrate-cum-Collector Samarth Verma said.

The restriction is imposed on visitors from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Kerala.

"We have made a negative RT-PCR test report (72 hours before start of journey) mandatory for people coming to Puri from these five states. The final vaccination certification will also be verified," said Verma.

Special arrangements have been made at the railway station for COVID-19 testing of passengers from the five states, he said.

Those who test positive will either undergo home isolation or institutional quarantine, the official said.

Of the fresh coronavirus cases, Khurda district reported the highest number of 105 new infections, followed by Sundergarh (84), Kalahandi (64), Jharsuguda (31), Cuttack (30) and Nuapada (29).

The death toll remained unchanged at 1,922 as no fresh fatalities have been reported since Sunday.

Odisha now has 3,731 active cases, while 3,38,150 patients have recovered from the disease so far.

It has thus far conducted over 92.13 lakh sample tests, including 25,005 on Monday, the official said.

Meanwhile, amid reports of vaccine shortage in the state, Health and Family Welfare Director Bijay Panigrahi said 3.47 lakh doses of Covishield are in stock, and Odisha will receive another 3.49 lakh doses by afternoon. "However, the quantity is inadequate and will last for only three days. We will again write to the Centre for adequate supply of vaccine for uninterrupted inoculation,"

he said.

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