The directive comes days after at least two people died of COVID-19 within days of their wedding
The district authority in Odisha’s Ganjam made it mandatory for people attending wedding functions, including brides and bridegrooms, to get tested for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) prior to the ceremony. The local tehsildar and the sub-magistrate will raid wedding venues regularly to ensure the guideline is being followed.
The directive issued May 17 came a day after a 26-year-old man died of COVID-19 in Durgadevipada village in Kendrapara within five days of getting married. Sanjay Kumar Nayak’s wedding ceremony was held on May 10 following COVID-19 protocols.
Swarnlata Pal (25) also succumbed to the infection May 15 in Indoloakusiari, a village on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, just three weeks after her wedding.
“Apart from strictly following COVID-19-appropriate behaviour relating to weddings, the host of such functions should ask for a negative rapid antigen test report (RAT) from each guest," said Ganjam district collector Vijay Amruta Kulange.
Not only is it safer for the hosts but for everyone attending the function amid the pandemic, he added. "It will help contain the spread of the infection."
A maximum of 50 persons, including the priest and groom, are allowed to attend weddings, according to the state guidelines. It might be the first such directive by a district administration to contain the spread of the infection.
Jayant Kumar Mohapatra, former vice-chancellor of Berhampur University, said:
Though it is very difficult to implement, it is significant as several social functions, including weddings and funerals have turned into super-spreader events across the country.
Hosts have also been asked not to allow persons with symptoms of influenza-like infections (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) to the marriage venues, said Kulange. “Vulnerable groups like persons above 65 years, children below 10 years, persons with co-morbidities and pregnant women have also been advised not to attend such events.”
Earlier, the district administration had banned the community feast at weddings. Hosts were asked to distribute food packets to guests.
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