Washim: Pohradevi priest, 229 students test positive for Covid-19
After the gathering of thousands of supporters of Maharashtra forest minister and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Rathod at Washim’s Pohradevi temple earlier this week, at least 12 people, including the temple’s chief priest have tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday.
The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has banned all gatherings of more than 50 people given a fresh surge in coronavirus cases in Vidarbha.
Rathod had visited the Pohradevi temple on Tuesday amid tight security, during which, many of his supporters thronged his vehicle creating a commotion.
The chief temple priest was present during the minister’s visit and around 25,000 of his supporters from different districts including Yavatmal, Jalna, Amravati, Washim and Nanded gathered there to boost the morale of the minister, who was on the defensive after the opposition attacked him and demanded his arrest and removal from the Thackeray cabinet, linking him in the death of a 22-year-old woman. A large majority of those present flouted social distancing norms and did not wear masks.
The Washim district collector, Shanmugarajan S informed that the temple priest and his family members had undergone a Covid-19 test two days ago. The test later established that he and his five members were infected with the virus. “We have set up testing camps near the temple to detect coronavirus infection among the temple staff and nearby villagers, particularly those who had attended the temple on Tuesday when the minister visited there,” the collector said.
After the minister’s visit, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray took a serious note of the Poharadevi temple gathering and directed the district and police administration to immediately take action against those who flouted Covid-19 norms.
The district administration had registered offences against around 10 people, but no offence was registered against Rathod. “We are trying to identify others in this connection and will certainly book them,” the collector Shanmugarajan said.
Meanwhile, as many as 229 students at a residential school at Degaon, near Washim, have tested positive for Covid-19, district health officer Avinash Aher said. Four teaching and non-teaching staffers have also been found to be infected, he added.
“Necessary treatment is being given to the patients. Two doctors and other health workers have been deputed to treat the students,” said Aher and added that almost all the students are asymptomatic.
District collector Shanmugarajan also visited the school and instructed the district health department to provide care to the students and school staff. “Assistant collector Vaibhah Waghmare has been appointed as the nodal officer to coordinate the healthcare,” he said. Ruling Shiv Sena lawmaker Bhavna Gawli, who represents the Yavatmal-Washim Lok Sabha constituency, runs the school.