Exclusive pics from Kumbh as top priests ‘test positive for Covid’

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As a deadly second Covid-19 wave continues to sweep India, 31 lakh devotees took a dip I the holy Ganges on the second day of the religious festival in the holy town of Haridwar, Uttarakhand…reports Asian Lite News.

Millions of pilgrims congregated for the second shahi snan (royal bath) at the banks of the Ganges at Uttarakhand’s holy town of Haridwar. The once in 12-year event saw seers and many devotees testing positive for Covid-19. On Monday over 31 lakh devotees took a dip. 

Devotees flout Covid guidelines during Shahi Snan (photo/video: Pallav Paliwal)

“Till 6pm today, a total of 31 lakh devotees have taken ‘snan’ in and around the Kumbh Mela area,” Kumbh Mela Police Control Room said.

The first shahi snan was held on March 11 on the occasion of Mahashivratri, while the second was held on Monday followed by another on Wednesday to mark the beginning of Navaratri.

Devotees flout Covid guidelines during Shahi Snan (photo/video: Pallav Paliwal)

Kumbh Inspector General (IG) Sanjay Gunjyal had earlier told ANI news agency that it would be very difficult to ensure social distancing norms.

Devotees flout Covid guidelines during Shahi Snan (photo/video: Pallav Paliwal)

“We are continuously appealing to people to follow Covid-19-appropriate behaviour. But due to the huge crowd, it is practically impossible to issue challans today. It is very difficult to ensure social distancing at ghats,” Gunjyal said.

The government had earlier said that only people with Covid negative reports would be allowed at the festival and strict measures like social distancing would be followed.

But a number of people, including seers, have already tested positive.

This is likely to cause a surge with the infection likely to spread when devotees carry back the virus back to their cities and villages.

Uttarakhand has reported 1,333 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday taking the total number of the cases in the state to 1,08,812. The active cases in the state now stand at 7,323. (ANI)

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