Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday said that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Yadav said in a tweet that he was being treated for the infection at home. “I have isolated myself,” he added. “I appeal to those who came into contact with me over the past few days to get themselves tested and stay in isolation.”
The Samajwadi Party chief went to Uttarakhand’s Haridwar city last week, where lakhs of devotees are participating in the Kumbh Mela despite the surge in coronavirus cases. Yadav met Narendra Giri, the president of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad, who had tested positive for the coronavirus on April 11.
The Kumbh Mela, which will be held from April 1 to April 30, is expected to be visited by 10 lakh pilgrims each day. The number of devotees visiting the Mela rose manifold on days of the “shahi snaan” or royal bath on Monday and Wednesday.
Only a few devotees are being tested for the coronavirus at the Kumbh Mela. Other basic Covid-19 protocols such as wearing masks, thermal screening, and checking negative test reports have been also been ignored.
On Monday, over 28 lakh devotees had turned up to take a dip in the Ganges river in open violation of coronavirus norms. Only 18,169 of the pilgrims were reportedly tested between 11.30 pm on Sunday and 5 pm on Monday.
Despite this violation of safety norms, the Kumbh Mela will not be cut short, unidentified officials told NDTV on Wednesday. Haridwar has reported 1,002 Covid-19 cases in two days – 594 on Tuesday and 408 on Monday.
India on Wednesday registered 1,84,372 new Covid-19 infections – the highest single-day rise in cases since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The overall case count rose to 1,38,73,825. With 1,027 more deaths in 24 hours, India’s toll went up to 1,72,085.
NK Arora, the advisor of National Adverse Events Following Immunisation committee, said that religious gatherings, political rallies and the farmers’ protest have proved to be super-spreaders of the coronavirus. “Unless these are stopped, no one can help us,” he warned.