A three-storey quarantine house is being built inside the Ramakrishna Math and Mission headquarters at Belur Math at a cost of Rs 80 lakh. It will have five rooms per floor and will be used for Covid-affected monks.
A position paper has been published by Belur Math on how the virus might have entered and spread within the precincts of the closely guarded campus, the numbers of monks and workers affected and the preventive measures adopted. Belur Math is also installing several devices that can flood spaces with electrons, touted to overpower the virus, the paper says.
The paper has been written by Swami Bodhasarananda, assistant secretary, RKM that states that a modern ambulance has also been purchased to ferry Covid affected residents of Belur Math. Out of the 675-strong family of Belur Math, all of whom have been tested, at an expense of Rs 16.5 lakh, 54 monks and 15 non-monastics have been found to be Covid positive. They are at different stages of treatment. Till date, three RKM monks have succumbed to the disease at other RKM centres, but none at Belur Math.
The monastic leadership is intrigued that not a single insider was affected by the virus till end July but thereafter the virus started spreading fast inside the campus. Investigation zeroed in on a worker who had come from his village and two monks who had travelled from Mumbai and Kadapa. “This is mostly because of the laxity in following the preventive measures,” the document says. Immediately, Belur Math switched on to a regimented approach and shut the gates to visitors from August 2. “Asymptomatic carriers were the cause for the silent spread. A few, who developed early signs of the infection did not report the matter, may be due to the fear of social stigma and quarantine, might have passed on the infection to others,” the paper clarifies.
A new “immunity boosting” diet has been brought in for RKM monks and workers. Two doctor monks, Swami Sevayogananda and Brother Yatishachaitanya, have been given Covid duties on the campus. “The document should give an overall estimation of the situation inside Belur Math,” said general secretary of RKM, Swami Suvirananda.