Health Amid Covid-19 surge, thousands gather for Kumbh Mela in...

Amid Covid-19 surge, thousands gather for Kumbh Mela in Haridwar

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Amid COVID-19 surge across India, thousands of people have gathered in Haridwar to celebrate the Kumbh Mela.

According to reports, huge crowds have gathered near the river banks to take a dip on the occasion, throwing social distancing for a toss.

The police has said that it is very difficult for them to ensure social distancing or issue challans.

“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,” said Inspector-general of Police, Haridwar Kumbh Mela, Sanjay Gunjyal, according to news agency ANI.

This comes when the country is trying to combat and control the spread of the second wave of Covid-19 that took the case tally to over 13 million. The Inspector-general warned that the enforcement of social distancing at ghats may lead to a stampede-like situation, reported ANI.

“A stampede-like situation may arise if we would try to enforce social distancing at ghats so we are unable to enforce social distancing here,” ANI quoted Gunjyal as saying.

Haridwar reported 372 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, hours ahead of the ‘Shahi Snan’. Uttarakhand reported 1,233 fresh Covid-19 infections on Saturday.

Earlier, experts feared that the Mela would “accelerate infections” in the region.

The ruling BJP, however, downplayed the risks. Chief Minister of the state, Tirath Singh Rawat said that “faith is stronger than fear”, adding that “religious sentiments needed to be given priority” over health concerns.

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