Punjab: 14-day risk period over for Hola Mohalla visitors, but doctors still advice caution

Kamaldeep Singh Brar
Punjab: 14-day risk period over for Hola Mohalla visitors, but doctors still advice caution

Medical Superintendent Government Medical College, Amritsar, Dr Raman said that for majority of devotees, who attended Holla Mohalla till March 11, the incubation period is over. (AP/File)

“It is requested that those who attended Hola Mohalla in Anandpur Sahib and who have symptoms of fever, cough, flu etc should go to the dispensary for a medical check up...,” Harnek Singh, granthi at a village gurdwara in Mohali district announces on the gurdwara’s public address system.

Punjab’s first COVID-19 casualty - a 70-year-old man who died on March 18 - had attended Hola Mohalla. Harnek Singh says that he was approached by local health officials to make the announcement regarding visitors to Hola Mohalla, which was held from March 8 to 11 at Anandpur Sahib.

Medical Superintendent Government Medical College, Amritsar, Dr Raman said that for majority of devotees, who attended Holla Mohalla till March 11, the incubation period is over. He, however, said that they still need to be cautious.

Around two lakhs devotees attended Hola Mohalla. After the first COVID-19 death in Punjab, there was panic in Punjab villages also a few from most of the state’s villages had attended the religious event.

“Scientifically such devotees are off the hook. But sometimes viruses do mutation and they take little more time to become active. So, they can take precautions for one or two more weeks. But practically we assume that if there is no symptoms within fourteen days then it is unlikely to get the symptoms,” said Dr Raman, who has been treating three coronavirus patients at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar. World Health Organisation’s website on coronavirus reads,

“The incubation period means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days. These estimates will be updated as more data become available.”

Keeping virus mutation in mind, Dr Raman said that still some devotees can get symptoms after 14 days. “Around 80 to 90 per cent people should not get any symptoms after 14 days. But there may be 10 to 20 per cent people who may get symptoms even after the 14 days are over. Majority will not get symptoms after 14 days.” The administration had ordered all those who visited Hola Mohalla into quarantine as a precautionary step.

Meanwhile, on the public address system of the village gurdwara, Harnek Singh also issued a warning Thursday, “It is also requested that you do not flout the curfew orders, otherwise strict action will be taken and police will register a case.”

Gurdwaras in Punjab have taken up the cudgels to spread awareness relating to COVID-19 following requests by administrative and health officials.

In Shingariwala village in Mohali district, another granthi made an announcement from public address system of the gurdwara. He informed the villagers about the home delivery of essential items, detailing category-wise names and contact numbers of people for various commodities, including the grocery and the medicines which the villagers can get at their doorsteps.

He added that commodities will not be sold at overpricing and then gives out another set of numbers and names of officials, if some vendors indulges in overpricing of the commodities. The granthi also makes an appeal that due to ongoing curfew, no one can go out of the home. “Legal action would be taken against violator of curfew. This order would be implemented by SDM Kharar,” says the granthi.

In adjoining village Parchh, people line up outside a chemist shop while covering their faces and maintaining distance to each other to get the medicines.