Thiruvananthapuram: Five security commandos, a police officer in technical wing and three employees at Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple here have been confirmed with COVID-19.
A guard commando from Kalady, a guard naik from Fort and a sepoy from Vattiyoorkavu were diagnosed with the disease. Also six commandos appointed from SAP camp tested positive for COVID-19.
The police officers and commandos in the temple had earlier worked in Poonthura and other containment zones. The commandos who were on duty in the temple were sent for route march in Poonthura.
After the route march, they stayed in the barrack at the north entrance of the temple. Being an armed force, they usually do not enter the temple. Along with them, the security police officers in the temple also were sent for COVID duty.
The temple executive officer had requested the City Police Commissioner not to send the commandos and police officers on security duty in the temple for other duties and to arrange separate accommodation facility for them, if they are sent for other duty. However, this was not implemented.
The authorities said that the commandos, who are confirmed with the disease, are not those who worked in Poonthura. As the temple staff were diagnosed with COVID, other employees who came in contact with them also will have to be quarantined. This may affect the schedule of rituals in the temple.
If the staff are quarantined, others can be appointed temporarily. But the priests cannot be replaced. According to the rules of Padmanabhaswamy temple, only Nambis who never leave the temple and Tantris have the right to perform rituals in the shrine.
The Tantris are in Irinjalakkuda and they do not have the facility to come to Thiruvananthapuram to perform the rituals at present. So, if the Nambis have to stay away from temple, the rituals may be affected.