As the Kumbh Mela continues to go on in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar, the city has been recording a surge in COVID-19 cases, with over 1,000 in the last two days. On Tuesday, 13 April, Haridwar registered 594 positive patients, while on Monday, 408 new positive cases were registered.
The ongoing Kumbh Mela has drawn flak for worshippers flouting COVID norms, as seen from emerging visuals.
The Uttarakhand government is bracing itself after reporting a single-day highest spike in 2021 on Tuesday with 1,925 positive cases and 13 patients who have died.
As per Union Health Ministry data, Dehradun district reported the highest cases at 775. Nainital reported 217 cases and Udham Singh Nagar reported 172 newly positive patients.
35 Lakh Devotees Take ‘Snan’ in Kumbh Mela Amid COVID Surge
Despite the country’s struggling situation with the COVID-19 surge, as many as 35 lakh people have taken ‘snan’ in and around the Kumbh Mela area on Monday, as per The Times of India.
The ‘snan’ went on till 9 pm.
The crowd assembled at Har ki Pauri ghat on the river banks to take a holy dip on the occasion, violating all COVID-19 norms.
‘Difficult to Enforce Social Distancing’
Kumbh Mela Inspector General Sanjay Gunjayal had admitted that it was difficult for the police to enforce social distancing during the second ‘Shahi Snan’ where massive crowds gathered.
“We are continuously appealing to people to follow COVID-19-appropriate behaviour. But due to the huge crowd, it is practically not possible to issue challans today. It is very difficult to ensure social distancing at ghats,” Gunjyal had told news agency ANI.
“A stampede-like situation may arise if we would try to enforce social distancing at ghats, so we are unable to enforce social distancing here,” he had said.
Gunjyal had also informed that the common public will be allowed till 7 am. “After that, this area will be reserved for akharas.”
The Kumbh Mela is a Hindu pilgrimage held every 12 years at river ford sites along the Ganges in India.
CM Rawat Assures Arrangements Are in Place
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat reduced the timings for night curfew citing upcoming festival celebrations in the state.
He had earlier said that arrangements had been made to deal with any fallout, and despite the rise in COVID cases, the recovery rate is good. He had also said that health is a priority, but matters of faith cannot be ignored.
Masks and sanitisers are available at the Mela, and there will be checking at border points, as well as random testing within the pilgrimage, he had said.
On the account of increasing COVID cases, a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours before arrival has been made mandatory for the devotees.
(With inputs from Times of India and ANI)
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