Delhi, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh on Saturday made it mandatory for devotees returning from the Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar city to quarantine themselves amid a massive surge in coronavirus cases in the country.
In Delhi, the devotees will have to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days and upload their details on the government website, The Indian Express reported. Legal action will be taken against those who flout the norms.
The Delhi government added that returnees who fail to submit the necessary details to the government will be sent to quarantine centres.
In Odisha, taking a RT-PCR test for the virus is mandatory for devotees apart from the 14-day quarantine, the Hindustan Times reported.
District officials have been given a list of people who are participating in the Kumbh Mela. “All such persons must be personally tracked, their health condition monitored,” Odisha special relief commissioner’s office said in an order.
Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh government directed the devotees to inform district collectors when they return from the religious gathering, ANI reported. After that, the officials will quarantine them.
Gujarat also directed the devotees to take an RT-PCR test before they return to their hometowns, PTI reported. Those who test positive for the infection will be isolated.
Lakhs of devotees are participating in the Kumbh Mela every day, despite the massive surge in coronavirus cases in India.
As India scrambles to contain the second wave of the pandemic, basic Covid-19 protocols such as wearing masks, thermal screening and checking negative test reports have been ignored at the Kumbh Mela.
Despite the huge risk posed by the event, officials of the Uttarakhand government had on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of cutting it short. It is likely to continue till April 30.
India registered 2,34,692 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, setting yet another grim milestone of a highest single-day rise in infections. The toll rose to 1,75,649, with 1,341 more deaths since Friday.
Juna Akhara ends participation in Kumbh
Juna Akhara, one of the key religious groups participating in the Kumbh Mela, ended its participation in the event on Saturday.
“Our first priority is to protect people’s lives,” the Akhara’s chief Avdheshanand Giri tweeted. “In view of the rising cases, we have performed the ritual of immersing gods. This is the end of Kumbh for Juna Akhara.”
The akhara’s announcement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Kumbh Mela should now be held as a “symbolic event” due to the coronavirus situation. He had also discussed the matter with Giri.