Tirupati: An employee of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) attached to the ancient Sri Govindaraja Swamy temple here tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, prompting the authorities to stop entry of devotees for two days.

This is the first COVID-19 case in TTD which also manages the hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at nearby Tirumala, a temple official said. It has about 7,000 permanent employees besides over 12,000 outsourced staff.

Temples in the state reopned after the COVID-19 lockdown only on Monday.

The daily rituals at the shrine would be performed as usual, he said.

After completely sanitising the shrine and other offices located in the temple complex, devotees would be allowed for worship from Sunday, the official said All the contacts of the coronavirus-infected employee have been identified and are being tested, he said.

The infected staff was working with TTD’s health department attached to the shrine, he said.

However, the hill temple of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala here which opened on Thursday after 80 days due to the COVID-19 lockdown was functioning normally with a ceiling of 7,000 devotees daily, observing strict COVID-19 measures, the official added.

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