Puri: Keeping in view the declining trend of COVID-19 infections across the country, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has decided that from February 21 devotees will not be required to carry double-dose vaccination certificate to enter the 12th shrine, a top official of the SJTA said.
Based on the opinion of the Chhattisa Nijog (apex body of servitors) meeting, it has been decided to withdraw mandatory production of complete vaccination certificate or negative RT-PCRT test report by devotees from February 21 for entry into the Shree Jagannath Temple at Puri, SJTA chief Administrator Krishan Kumar said on Monday.
He said the decision is taken keeping in view the decline in the COVID-19 cases and peoples' sentiment. "Most of the people have been administered vaccine at least twice, the temple administration has decided to relax the curbs," Kumar said.
The temple was reopened for public on February 1 after a brief closure of 20 days. Now devotees were required to bring their photo ID card, along with final certificate for COVID-19 vaccination or negative RT-PCR test report within 98 hours prior to the visit to the temple.
The SJTA chief administrator said that devotees will not be required to carry double-dose vaccination certificate to visit the temple from February 21. Also devotes are not needed to take RT-PCR certificate to go inside the temple.
The decision has been taken at the Chhatisa Nijog meeting where Kumar was present to discuss the preparations for President Ram Nath Kovind's visit to the temple on February 19.
As most people have received the double dose of Covid vaccine, the Chhatisa Nijog decided to do away with the final vaccination certificate norm for the devotees. However, mask wearing is mandatory for devotees visiting the temple, Kumar added.
He said the shrine will remain closed for two hours on February 19 in view of President Ram Nath Kovind's visit to the Temple on February 19.
Kovind is scheduled to visit the temple from 5 pm to 5.45 pm on February 19. The temple will remain closed for the general public from 4 pm till 6 pm, the SJTA said in a statement.
Puri SP K V Singh said that around 40 platoons (1 platoon comprise 30 personnel) of force will be deployed during the President's visit to the pilgrim town.
Puri District Collector Samarth Verma said that elaborate measures have been taken for the President's visit on February 19.