Hundreds of followers, including nine top saints, tested positive for Covid-19 in the city of Haridwar, India, where a large number of people gathered to attend the Kumbh Mela Festival.
On Tuesday, more than 3 million Hindus bathed in the Ganges, celebrating the most auspicious day of the two-month festival.
Millions of people are expected to repeat the ritual on Wednesday.
India reported 184,372 new cases on Tuesday. This is the highest daily surge ever.
Many have criticized the government for allowing the festival to proceed in a raging pandemic.
By Wednesday afternoon, about 900,000 people were immersed in the holy river, according to people familiar with the matter, making it the most auspicious day of the festival as a whole.
Hindus believe that the Ganges is holy, and soaking in water cleanses their sins and brings salvation.
Police say it is struggling to impose safety standards due to the large number of people on the banks of the river in Uttarakhand, Himalayas.
Officials leading the festival’s Covid-19 test cell told the BBC that 110 of the more than 20,000 samples collected in the area on Tuesday returned positive results. On Monday, 184 followers tested positive. They were quarantined and others were transferred to a hospital in Haridwar.
Dr. Arjun Sengar, a health officer at Kumbh Mela, said nine top religious leaders also tested positive.
Narendra Giri, chairman of a consortium of 14 Hindu groups, also tested positive. He was admitted to the All Indian Medical College, a major public hospital in Haridwar.
Former Prime Minister of the neighboring Uttar Pradesh, Achilles Yadav, also tested positive. He visited Haridwar on Sunday and met several top saints, including Mr. Gili.
Uttar Pradesh’s current Prime Minister, Yogia Ditianas, also did not attend the festival, but tested positive.
On Tuesday, Haridwar recorded 594 new cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 2,812. Over 1,000 new cases were recorded between Monday and Tuesday.
Despite India’s record of massive surges in day-to-day incidents, there is growing government criticism of allowing rallies to be held. Health experts have appealed for Khumbu’s cancellation, but the government has moved forward by saying it will comply with safety rules.
“We are following the Ministry of Health guidelines and the recovery rate is good,” Uttarakhand Prime Minister Tyrus Singh Rawat told the media.
“Arrangements are also appropriate to handle all situations.”
“Ma [mother] Ganga’s blessing is in the flow [of the river]..So there should be no corona[virus]”ANI News Agency quoted his statement.
The government previously stated that only those who had a Covid negative test would be allowed to attend the festival and that strict measures such as social distance would be taken. However, The government is reportedly struggling to maintain Covid’s security protocol Many attended the festival with no negative results.
According to a video tweeted by ANI, many people on the banks of the river did not wear masks.
The second wave is causing havoc across India. Reports of hospital bed, life-saving medication, and lack of medical oxygen are beginning to come from different parts of the country. The western province of Maharashtra, which was most affected by the virus, announced strict restrictions on Tuesday night. Prime Minister Uddhav Thacke said that only essential services will work for the next 15 days.
“The war has begun again,” he said at a press conference. The state recorded more than 60,000 incidents on Tuesday.
Ten states across India (Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Tamirnadu, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Kerala) account for 80.80% of daily cases. I am.
With a total of over 13.5 million cases, India is currently lagging behind the United States, which reports more than 31 million cases. With 13.4 million cases, Brazil is currently in third place.