DEHRADUN: An explosive 1,800% spike in active cases in Uttarakhand between March 31 and April 24, a period coinciding with the Haridwar Mahakumbh, indicates that the congregation may have turned into a super spreader event in the state.
Prior to the event, the total number of active cases in the hill state stood at 1,863 (March 31). However, after the event started on April 1, the number of active cases reached a whopping 33,330 (April 24). According to the government data, over 35 lakh people had gathered at Haridwar on April 12 and the figure was pegged at over 13.51 lakh on April 14. Both the days were considered as auspicious for rituals.
Government spokesman and minister Subodh Uniyal said complacency and arrival of tourists were to be blamed for the surge. “We are doing everything to ensure that this is over soon,” he added.
The last Shahi Snan of Kumbh is scheduled for Tuesday. Responding queries on the event, Mahant Ravindra Puri, secretary of Niranjani Akhada – the second most prominent akhada among the 14 — said: “We have already informed that the Shahi Snan would be symbolic.”With Char Dham Yatra scheduled for next month, the HC has ordered the state to ensure it does not turn into another Kumbh. It has ordered the government to formulate guidelines for the yatra.
Ravinath Raman, chairman of Char Dham Devsthanam Board and commissioner of Garhwal division said, “The guidelines will be issued soon with every possible precaution so that the spread is not amplified. Our SOP will be on the lines of the safety measures of the Centre and state government and what we issued last year with added precautions.”