The Uttarakhand government on Tuesday reduced night curfew timing by 30 minutes in view of the festive celebrations during the month of Navratri and Ramzan, reported PTI. Night curfew in the Dehradun Municipal Corporation area will be in effect from 10.30 pm to 5 am, starting from Tuesday.
The decision came at a time when India is in the midst of a severe second wave of the coronavirus. India on Tuesday recorded 1,61,736 new cases of the coronavirus. The toll in the country rose to 1,71,058 with 879 deaths in the last 24 hours. India has 12.64 lakh active cases as of Tuesday. Uttarakhand’s caseload is over 7,800 till Tuesday.
On April 9, the Uttarakhand Cabinet had decided to impose night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am amid a rise in coronavirus cases in the state.
An official statement on Tuesday said the night curfew timings were revised on the instruction of Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat. However, the chief minister urged to people to follow the Covid guidelines and asked all district magistrates to ensure full compliance of safety protocols.
The order comes as the state is hosting the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. Hundreds of thousands of devotees have gathered for a ritual bath in the Ganges amid the surge in coronavirus cases. So far, as many as 102 devotees have tested positive for Covid-19 as protocols such as wearing masks, thermal screening, and checking negative test reports have been ignored.
However, Uttarakhand Director General of Police Ashok Kumar asserted that the Kumbh Mela was not a “super spreader event”. To back his claim, he said that the authorities had tested 53,000 persons visiting the Mela, of which the positivity rate came at 1.5%. He also admitted that it was not possible to follow Covid-19 related protocols completely at an event like the Kumbh Mela.
Kumar also claimed that “90% of the crowd” that came to the event would not stay at Haridwar and so, they will not spread the virus. The senior police officer, however, did not elaborate on the possibility of those going back transmitting the virus at their respective locations.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday said people returning from the Kumbh Mela will turn out to be potential carriers of Covid-19, reported PTI. “It is painful for the Shiv Sena to put restrictions on our festivals and religious celebrations but the party dares to do so to save the lives of people,” he said. “Our priority is to save as many lives as possible. I believe that people coming from the Kumbh Mela will cause further spread of Covid-19 cases, which will cause havoc.”
Maharashtra is the worst-affected state in the country. On Monday, the state reported 51,751 new coronavirus cases, a day after logging the highest 63,294 infections. The state’s tally stood at 34,58,996 and the toll rose to 58,245 with 258 deaths.