Haridwar, April 13: At least 102 devotees who turned up at Kumbh Mela in Haridwar for the second shahi snan (royal bath) in the Ganga have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), authorities said today. According to a report, over 18,169 devotees were tested between 11.30 pm Sunday and 5 pm Monday. Of them, 102 were found to be infected with coronavirus. Lakhs of devotees visited Haridwar for the 12-day Kumbh Mela. Kumbh Mela 2021: Thousands Take Dip in Ganga on Shahi Snan Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases.
A report by The Indian Express says there were no proper arrangements to screen people between the railway station in Haridwar, the iconic Har ki Pauri and the ghats. There were no thermal screening points and people without masks were not being penalised, the report says. It also adds that over a dozen devotees with no Covid-negative RT-PCR test reports were let go through various checkpoints. Uttarakhand Allows Up to 200 People to Attend Wedding Ceremonies Outside Containment Zones.
"Our RT-PCR report was checked at the Narsan checkpoint along the UP border. No one asked for it in the Mela area. No thermal screening was done," Raj Pratap Singh, a government teacher from Madhya Pradesh's Bhind who reached Haridwar by car, was quoted as saying. Pramod Sharma, a businessman from Jammu, had similar experience. He reached Haridwar without the mandatory RT-PCR report.
"Passengers for Haridwar were asked to deboard at Jwalapur railway station, about 3 km earlier. But there were a lot of passengers, and no one asked about the RT-PCR report. Later, we took a bath in the Ganga at the Gau ghat. There was no thermal screening anywhere," Sharma said. Dr Avinash Khanna, Kumbh Mela's COVID-19 in-charge, said thermal screening and test of devotees were not done because the ghats were reserved for the akharas on Monday.
"Thermal screening and rapid antigen tests were done at the state borders, railway stations and ghat areas. The ghats were reserved for the akharas today morning, and so tests and screening were not done. They will be done again when the snan of akharas will end," he said.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Apr 13, 2021 12:32 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).