The Karnataka government has asked devotees returning from the Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar city to isolate themselves and get tested for the coronavirus. Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Thursday tweeted a circular issued on this.

The health minister urged pilgrims to continue with their regular activities only after they test negative for the virus. The Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare Services KV Thrilok Chandra said the devotees must get the RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) test.

The circular issued by Chandra has been marked to the municipal commissioners, deputy commissioners of the districts, chief executive officers of the Zilla Parishad, district surgeons, district health officers and district surveillance officers.

Several lakhs of devotees are visiting the Kumbh Mela each day but only a few are being tested, and other basic Covid-19 related protocols such as wearing masks, thermal screening and checking negative test reports have been ignored.

A total of 1,701 people have tested positive for the coronavirus from April 10 to 14 at the religious gathering, PTI reported. The mela is scheduled to continue till April 30.

The figures include both RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Test reports of devotees and saints of different ascetic groups over the five-day period, Haridwar Chief Medical Officer Shambhu Kumar Jha said.

Jha added that the more RT-PCR test reports are awaited and the number of infected persons in the Kumbh Mela is likely to jump to 2,000.

Experts have warned that religious gatherings and the farmers’ protest will be super spreaders of the coronavirus, but authorities have ruled out the possibility of cutting short the Kumbh Mela.

Also read:

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  2. ‘Religion will not save India, science will’: Doctor’s view on holding Kumbh Mela despite Covid-19