As many as 17 staff members of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) that governs the shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala, near here, have tested positive for Covid-19, a top functionary of the TTD board said.

After holding an emergency meeting on the hills, TTD board chairman YV Subba Reddy told reporters that an ’archaka’ (assistant priest), some musicians and security staff were among those infected in recent times.

The best treatment was now being provided to the affected staff, and that the TTD would not compromise on the health, safety and security of the employees.

After the Covid-19 spread, the shrine was closed and was re-opened for the devotees on June 11, allowing only 6,000 of them per day. All precautions have been taken, he said.

Keeping in mind the spike in the cases of coronavirus in the country, TTD has determined that under any circumstance not more than 12,000 devotees per day would be allowed into the ancient shrine, he said.