As the Kumbh Mela is being held in Uttarakhand's Haridwar on a massive scale during the COVID-19 pandemic, infections have escalated to 1,278, of which 18 seers have tested positive since April 10 as maintained by Dr S.K Jha, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Haridwar.
Disregarding the pandemic, devotees gathered at Hari ki Pauri in Haridwar to dip in Ganga for the third Shahi Snan of Kumbh Mela on Wednesday, April 14.
The Shahi Snan signifies the Mesh Sankranti and Baisakhi and includes nearly 14 lakh devotees.
The third Shahi Snan decreased in its participation as compared to the other two Snans ( notching up to 30 lakh every day). The low footfall has been a blessing of sorts according to Inspector-general of police Sanjay Gunjayal as reported by The Times of India.
In accordance with the State Health Department, at least 2,167 have tested positive for COVID-19 in Haridwar district.
Physical distancing norms and guidelines were unabashedly violated by the seers and the followers, with the majority of them not wearing masks.
The seers from the Akhadas took a dip along with the deities in the palanquins at Har ki Pauri. Common devotees in lakhs bathed at ghats in and around Haridwar and Rishikesh.
CMO informed that tests are being conducted at Haridwar, Pauri, Dehradun, and Tehri.
In view of the directives of the Uttrakhand High Court, a minimum of 50,000 tests has to be administered in Kumbh sites coupled with showcasing of a negative RT-PCR report to enter the Mela premises. The implementation of these guidelines on the ground seems difficult as Uttarakhand experienced its highest day covid cases spike on Tuesday with 1,925 cases.