Mysuru: Even as Karnataka grapples with rising Covid-19 cases, the state government has decided to organise Dassara as a low-key affair. The government, however, has decided to restrict the Jamboo Savari (Elephant Ride) to be well within the Mysuru palace, that too with the participation of only five elephants.
This was decided as elephants are massive creatures, having particularly large lungs, they can expel a relatively large number of bacteria into the surrounding air too.
"If elephants are brought into Mysuru where the highest number of the Covid-19 cases are registered after Bengaluru in the state, there could be a high possibility that these elephants could become Covid-19 carriers into the jungles. Hence, the state decided to cancel the Jamboo Savari, a cynosure of world-famous Mysuru Dasara and restrict it to Mysruru palace premises," a senior bureaucrat told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
According to this officer, an outbreak of Covid-19 showed that this virus can stay in the air for long hours, depending on the environment.
"Exposure risk depends on various factors such as the concentration of virus in the air, how long the person was exposed, the size of the room, and the ventilation system all these matters. It is also true that a prolonged contact is more likely to cause infection, it is possible to become infected after a short exposure," the officer pointed out and added that the Rajasthan government was the first government to test these gentle giants for Covid-19 as early in mid-June itself.
The testing of elephants for tuberculosis or Covid-19, not a new system followed by the zookeepers or circus companies or various governments and it is a common practice followed throughout the world.
Meanwhile, the Mysuru Deputy Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) M.G. Alexander disclosed that the district administration has geared up to face any challenge including conducting Covid-19 tests.
"Such a test will be carried out only if necessary. We have all the wherewithal to carry out such tests," he added.
According to him, the district administration will surely carry out Covid-19 tests on mahouts and they will be given with masks and a pair of gloves also.
He added that elephants -- Abhimanyu, Vikrama, Vijaya, Gopi and Kaveri -- are identified for Dasara celebration.
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