The huge gathering of saffron garbed devotees in the holy Kumbh Mela is posing a great risk of infection. The COVID-19 cases in India are increasing at a rapid rate. India has recorded 1.61 lakh cases on the 13th of April and is the second-worst hit country in the world.
No social distancing in the holy dip of Kumbh Mela 2021. Source- Scroll.in
Kumbh Mela 2021- A potential super spreader
Experts are suggesting that the Kumbh Mela 2021 is a potential super-spreader. And now it's a fact. Several devotees broke the COVID-19 safety protocols and participated in the 'Ganga snan'. Among them, 102 devotees are tested positive for COVID-19. On Monday, the devotees converged at Har Ki Pauri and participated in the holy dip in the Ganga river.
As per the PTI, the Mahamandaleshwar led 'akharas' took our 'Sobha Yatras' one by one. They gathered at Brahma Kund, Har ki Pauri for the holy bath on the occasion of Somvati Amavasya. The Mela administration claimed that around 17.31 lakh devotees participated.
As per ANI, Inspector General Sanjay Gunjyal said, "a stampede-like situation" could occur. He also added, "We are continuously appealing to people to follow COVID-appropriate behavior. But due to the huge crowd, it is practically not possible to issue challans today. It is very difficult to ensure social distancing at ghats."
The authorities are not undertaking appropriate actions even though the numbers are increasing. The situation in the healthcare facilities is worsening. Despite the crisis, there have been no such procedures implemented by the Government. The Indian Railways has organized 25 special trains on the three days of Kumbh Mela.
Precautionary measures to stop the spread in Kumbh Mela
The State Government has mandated that every devotee has to carry a negative RT-PCR test. But no arrangements are made if a devotee contracts Covid in Haridwar.
As per Indian Express, Uttarakhand police are using AI technology to track people. They will zoom in on people without masks and capture an image. 350 CCTV cameras are there in Haridwar, more than 100 of which have AI sensors. But, the crowd at the ghats is huge. At this moment, it is unclear how the police will take action if they identify who violated protocols.