The Haridwar Kumbh Mela commenced on Thursday, April 1 in Uttarakhand. Devotees will participate in three shahi snans which are slated for April 12, 14 and 27. Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were issued by the state government to contain the spread of the virus. Uttarakhand has mandated a negative RT-PCR test report for the devotees visiting Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.
The government has already raised concerns about the recent uptick in cases during Kumbh Mela. In view of this, the administration has arranged for COVID-19 testing kiosks at the borders of the state to test people coming from outside to ensure the safety of the devotees. The new SOPs were announced after almost 32 people tested positive for COVID-19 at an ashram. The Kumbh Mela will be held for only 30 days this year, from April 1 to 30, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Union Health Ministry has directed the Uttarakhand government to follow all the “stringent measures” to control the spread of the deadly virus during the religious gathering. In the light of a rising number of cases, experts said that the government needs to “implement the precautions more strictly”.