All religious places closed for public in Odisha capital

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Bhubaneswar, Apr 20 (PTI) With the Odisha capital Bhubaneswar registering the highest ever single day spike of 581 new COVID-19 cases, the local municipal authorities Tuesday declared closure of all religious places like temples, mosques, gurudwaras and churches for devotees from Wednesday till further order.

After consultations with management committees of religious institutions like temples/mosques/gurudwaras/ churches and others, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has issued directives for religious places which will come into force from 21/04/2021, the BMC said in an order.

'No devotees shall be allowed inside any religious institution like temples/mosques/gurudwaras/churches, etc, until further order. However, the usual religious rituals in all such places of worship will be conducted with limited numbers of priests/staff,' the order said.

The BMC had earlier closed Shree Lingaraj Temple in the state capital two days ago after some servitors tested positive for infection.

Meanwhile, the 'Rukuna Ratha, the chariot of Lord Lingaraj, was pulled Tuesday on the auspicious day of Ashokastami,' BMC commissioner P C Chaudhury said, adding that only servitors with RT-PCR negative report along with police personnel were allowed to pull the chariot.

He said the Lord's festival is being observed by following all COVID-19 protocols.

The state capital on Tuesday reported 581 new COVID-19 cases pushing the tally in Bhubaneswar to 36,728. The city presently has 3,249 active COVID-19 cases while 33,208 people have recovered from the highly infectious disease and 250 have died so far. PTI AAM RG RG