New Delhi: Ahead of the Rath Yatra festival, Puri District administration on Tuesday informed that a servitor of Puri Jagannath Temple has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.Also Read - Will Schools in Delhi Reopen as COVID Cases Decline? Sisodia Says Will Discuss Matter With DDMA Tomorrow

The information from Puri District Collector Balwant Singh came amid a restricted Rath Yatra in Puri after the Supreme Court gave green signal to Odisha on Monday. Also Read - Covishield and Covaxin To Get Regular Market Approval From DCGI Soon, Each Dose Likely To be Capped at Rs 275

As per the guidelines from the Supreme Court, Covid-19 tests of 1,143 servitors were done on Monday ahead of the Rath Yatra. Also Read - Delhi to Lift Weekend Curfew, Curbs on Markets Soon; Final Decision Tomorrow

“Confirm case has been shifted to Covid Hospital before Rath Yatra rituals. Contact tracing is being done and the area has been contained,” Puri district administration said in a tweet.

Notably, the servitors have been permitted to participate in the festival and pull the chariot only if they have tested negative for COVID-19. For the first time ever, the annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath and his siblings began in absence of devotees at Odisha’s Puri on Tuesday.

The priests performed the “Mangala Aarti” early in the morning. Amid blowing of conches and beating of cymbals, the ceremonial procession of the deities known as “Pahandi” – carrying the deities on chariots out of the temple — took place.

This year, no more than 500 people were allowed to pull the chariots. The festival marks the annual journey of the three deities — Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra — from the 12th century Jagannath temple to the Gundicha temple. The festival ends after nine days when the deities make their way back to the Jagannath temple.