The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams on Wednesday permitted the Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS) to utilise the Balaji Institute of Surgery Research and Rehabilitation for the Disabled (BIRRD) as an extension unit to its COVID hospital.
The decision was taken by TTD Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal at a meeting with District Collector Bharat Narayana Gupta.
To combat the growing number of positive cases at Tirupati, Mr. Singhal upon the request of the Collector also agreed to hand over TTD’s Vishnu Nivasam rest house with over 400 suites to the district administration for treating COVID patients, and instructed the officials concerned to shift the existing slotted Sarva Darshanam ticket counters to Bhudevi Complex situated in the vicinity of Alipiri Bus Station for the convenience of pilgrims.
The meeting also took cognisance of the quality of food provided to employees and also the COVID tests carried out to those working at Tirumala.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 swab (specimen) collection centre at Alipiri was temporarily closed down with a couple of on-duty staff reportedly testing positive.
A section of electronic channels flashed stories that four of the temple priests working at Tirumala besides three local denizens also reportedly tested positive to the virus.
When contacted, TTD Health Officer R.R. Reddy, who expressed his inability to divulge details with regard to the priests testing positive, merely quipped that the medical reports regarding their health status had been forwarded to the management along with the reports of other employees.