COVID-19: Kumbh Mela Records 1,000 Cases as Nation Witnesses Biggest Single-Day Spike
By: Ishita Kukreja
Over 1,000 visitors to the Kumbh Mela have tested positive for COVID-19 at Haridwar, Uttarakhand, within the last 48 hours, PTI reported. On Tuesday, the congregation had recorded 35 lakh participants taking a dip in the Ganges during the Shahi snan event followed by another six lakh who partook in the Baishakhi snan yesterday.
An official told Hindustan Times that the major cause of the spreading of the virus is the careless attitude of the devotees, such as their reluctance to wear masks or follow physical distancing norms.
Even the president of the Samajwadi Party, Akhilesh Yadav, tested positive for Covid-19 after visiting the mela. Experts have attributed the surging number of cases nationwide to crowded public places, political rallies attracting a large assembly of people, and large religious events.
Justifying these acts of condemnation, a member of the Kumbh Mela organising committee told the Associated Foreign Press that their faith is the biggest thing for them and ‘Ma Ganga’ will save them from this pandemic. Meanwhile, comparisons with last year’s Tablighi Jamaat have also been brought up. The Jamaat had been blamed by a section of the Indian media for being the nation’s first super spreader event, which not only led to the countrywide condemnation but also arrests of those who had attended the event.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Tirath Singh Rawat, has refuted any such comparisons. He told ANI that the Kumbh Mela could not be compared to the Nizamuddin Markaz event, even though Haridwar reported over 1,000 cases in the last two days. He claimed that the mela is safer because “it is being held in an open environment unlike the closed building of the Nizamuddin Markaz.”
Uttarakhand has reported 9,353 active coronavirus cases and 1,780 deaths so far.
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