Health

Kumbh amid COVID-19: 1.3 million bathe at Haridwar as COVID-19 cases spike

Officials at Kumbh Mela report decrease in number of pilgrims at second royal bath even as COVID-19 cases surge  

 
By Vivek Mishra
Published: Wednesday 14 April 2021
Kumbh amid COVID-19: 1.3 million bathe at Haridwar as COVID-19 cases spike
Pilgrims take a dip in the Ganga on the second royal bath. Photo: Midhun Vijayan / CSE Pilgrims take a dip in the Ganga on the second royal bath. Photo: Midhun Vijayan / CSE

Some 1,351,631 pilgrims bathed in the waters of the Ganga at Haridwar during the second Shahi Snan or ‘royal bath’ April 14, 2021 even as novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases surged at the Kumbh Mela.

Basic rules like social distancing and the wearing of masks continued to be violated April 14 like at the previous royal bath April 12.

The administration, though, was busy with the bathing management of the akhadas or religious sects. Mela officer Deepak Rawat called the second bath a success.

More than 3.1 million devotees had bathed in the Ganga April 12. Officials ascribed the drop in the number of pilgrims within two days to increasing COVID-19 restrictions in various states due to which many could not reach Haridwar.

However, the police told Down To Earth that on April 13, more than 0.35 million pilgrims had reached the fair area. This was the highest number of pilgrims arriving since April 10.

Some 0.15 million people had arrived at the river by noon April 12. On April 11, the number was 95,000 and on 10 April, the number was up to 40,000.

But despite the fall in the number of pilgrims April 14, the graph of COVID-19 cases in Haridwar is surging. According to Chief Medical Officer SK Jha, COVID-19 infection is spreading in the city at the rate of 0.6 per cent. He said RT-PCR tests were not possible though antigen tests were being conducted.

There is also confusion about the actual number of COVID-19 positive cases. Jha said while the number was less according to the antigen tests, it was high according to the few RT-PCR tests that had been conducted.

Some 36,243 tests had been conducted by 5 pm April 14, of which 154 were found to be positive. Of these, 2,000 were RT-PCR tests, the results of which will come by 12 midnight.

On April 13, 2021, 50,638 tests were carried out, in which 496 infections were detected: 

  • 45,285 antigen tests were performed, that gave 163 positive results
  • 5,353 RT-PCR tests were conducted, that gave 333 positive results

On April 12, 2021, 66,203 tests were carried out, in which 387 infections were detected: 

  • 61,810 antigen tests were performed, that gave 171 positive results 
  • 4,393 RT-PCRs tests were conducted, that gave 215 positive results

On April 11, 2021, 55,430 tests were carried out, in which 369 infections were detected: 

  • 49,929 antigen tests were performed, that gave 98 positive results
  • 5,501 RT-PCR tests were conducted, that gave 271 positive results

On April 10, 2021, 30,638 tests were carried out, in which 205 infections were detected:

  • 22,610 antigen tests were performed, that gave 54 positive results
  • 8,028 RT-PCT tests were conducted, that gave 151 positive results

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