The Haridwar Kumbh Mela began on Thursday, April 1, amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the country. This year the Kumbh Mela will conclude after 30 days on April 30 while the dates booked for shahi snans are April 12, 14, and 27. On Thursday, the Uttarakhand government issued the new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to contain the spread of the virus during the holy event.
The SOP was announced after almost 32 people tested COVID-19 positive at an ashram. As of March 31, the state has recorded 1,696 active cases with the death toll at 1,713, as per the data provided by the Ministry of Health.
While inaugurating the underground cabling project in the Kumbh on Wednesday the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Tirath Singh Rawat, assured that the state government is fully prepared for organising the divine, grand, beautiful and safe Kumbh in Haridwar. He also said that concrete arrangements have been made for the convenience and safety of the devotees.
Here are the COVID-19 guidelines which the devotees will have to follow:
1. Carrying negative COVID-19 test (RT-PCR) reports has been made mandatory by the state government for passengers travelling from 12 states, including Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
2. To ensure the safety of the devotees, COVID-19 testing kiosks have been arranged by the administration at the borders of the state to test people coming from outside.
3. District administrations have been directed to make arrangements for random testing at airports, railway stations, and border check posts.
4. Over 10,000 paramilitary staff including those from CRPF and ITBP have been deployed on Kumbh duty.
5. Individuals above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years comes under the vulnerable section of the people and hence are advised to travel only in unavoidable circumstances.
6. Visitors will have to follow social distancing and wear masks in public places at all times.
7. Sanitiser dispensers have been placed across Har ki Paudi in Haridwar.
8. Special Covid-19 isolation centres have also been set up.
9. Authorities have been directed to take strict action against people violating the COVID-19 protocols.
10. There will be no restrictions on the movement of those involved in essential services.