The head of the Maha Nirvani Akhara from Madhya Pradesh, who had tested positive for the coronavirus, died at a hospital in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun city, PTI reported on Thursday. Kapil Dev had come to Uttarakhand to attend the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.

Dehradun Superintendent of Police (City) Sarita Dobhal told the news agency that Dev died on Tuesday. He had been admitted to the city’s Kailash Hospital.

Narendra Giri, the president of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad, had also tested positive for the coronavirus on April 11.

Lakhs of devotees are participating in the Kumbh Mela every day, despite the massive surge in coronavirus cases in India. The numbers rose manifold on days of the “shahi snaan” or royal bath on Monday and Wednesday.

As India scrambled to contain the second wave of the coronavirus, basic Covid-19 protocols such as wearing masks, thermal screening and checking negative test reports were ignored at the Kumbh Mela.

As many as 1,701 devotees tested positive for the virus at the Kumbh Mela site alone, from April 10 to 14, according to PTI.

Despite the huge risk posed by the event, officials of the Uttarakhand government on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of cutting it short. It is likely to continue till April 30.

On Wednesday, Haridwar reported 525 new cases and two deaths, according to official data. The state conducted only 32,257 tests. The count of active cases in the district stood at 3,179.

India on Thursday recorded over 2 lakh new coronavirus cases – a record high since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The country’s overall count of cases since the outbreak rose to 1,40,74,564. The toll rose to 1,73,123 as 1,038 deaths were recorded in the last day.

Also read: ‘Huge gatherings at Hindu festival as virus surges’: How international media reported Kumbh Mela