743 at Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Test COVID-Positive So Far
Out of the 743 infected with coronavirus, 338 are presently being treated at different COVID hospitals.
Three weeks after the former chief priest of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) succumbed to COVID-19, around 743 staffers of the Devasthanam, including some priests of the Lord Venkateswara shrine at Tirumala have tested positive for the virus, reports news agency PTI.
Quoting a temple official, the report said that at least three people from the TTD have died of the virus since 11 June.
Moreover, out of the 743 infected with the coronavirus, around 402 have recovered while 338 are presently being treated at different COVID hospitals, TD Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal said.
After remaining closed for nearly two-and-a-half months owing to the pandemic, Lord Venkateswara temple was thrown open to the public on 11 June 2020. The temple is governed by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam.
Singhal also denied allegations that the temple had reopened to fill its coffers.
On 19 July, the former chief priest of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Srinivasa Dikshitulu passed away at Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS) at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
He was 73 years old and was admitted at the hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus, said the SVIMS hospital spokesperson.
“The former priest has had a history of kidney ailments and was undergoing treatment. He was not part of the temple operations since his health took a bad turn.”YV Subba Reddy, TTD chairman to TNM
Row Over Opening Temple Amid COVID-19
Earlier, a row has erupted over the decision of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam for keeping the Tirumala temple open in the middle of a pandemic after 140 people posted at the temple have tested positive for the coronavirus till late July.
However, the TTD continued to allow entry of devotees less than 12,000 in number into the temple daily.
Back then, Subba Reddy had stated that if discontinuation of darshan was not possible, the pilgrims from containment zones should not be allowed in, or at least the pilgrims from the worst-affected states must be avoided.
In addition, a senior police officer wrote to the TTD on 11 July, asking that darshan at the temple be shut in the interest of public health safety.
Honorary chief priest Ramana Dikshitulu had also taken to social media to question the Andhra government over the rising cases at the temple. He demanded that the temple be shut and asked Andhra Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy to take action to avert a “disaster.”
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