It is no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic is still not reined and the rising positive cases are its evidence. Experts fear that the Kumbh Mela gathering would trigger an exponential increase in Covid-19 cases and it may just be the scene as no masks, no social distancing and Covid-19 protocols were observed at the Haridwar Kumbh Mela. As millions of revellers thronged to the festival in the hope of a holy dip in the river Ganga at Haridwar, Har Ki Pauri on April 12 & April 15. The district has been wrapped in cases since April 1 when the congregation began. A total of 1,701 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Haridwar Kumbh Mela area from April 10 to 14.
As several states have imposed night curfews and other restrictions to break the chain of transmission, various states across India are facing a shortage of Covid-19 vaccines including hospital beds for patients. The authorities despite being warned have taken risks of holding such a large gathering, the ‘ceremonial dip’ should not have been encouraged as it already raises various questions of sanitation and hygiene and the most important of all – the pollution of the not so anymore “sacred” Ganga. Instead of fighting and curbing the present existing cases, Kumbh Mela gave a surge to more new cases.
The government of Uttarakhand made tall claims of ensuring the best arrangements to manage the crowd, yet, it is quite a different scenario on the grounds of the Mela. Over 1,700 people have tested positive for COVID-19 including the chief priest of the Niranjani Akhada, as reported by Hindu.
Ironically, there is no definitive infrastructure related to medical care so far. The officials of the religious fair have asked the Haridwar district health department to ensure health arrangements for the bathing festival of Kumbh Mela. According to officials, the Mela administration hasn’t even finalised the land for installing the 150-bed fabricated hospital for the Kumbh Mela and there is no ICU facility insight in Haridwar as yet.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister has made a careless relapse in his tweet inviting all the devotees across the country and stating “Nobody will be stopped in the name of Covid-19”. It highly indicates where the safety of the people stands in this progressive country of ours.