A data was released by Kumbh Mela Force on April 29 which revealed that around 9.1 million people attended the Mahakumbh this year despite rising covid cases in the country. Kumbh 2021 was allowed even when the second wave of coronavirus was at its peak.
Massive crowd participated in the religious gathering turning it into a ‘super spreader event’ of Covid19. Covid norms and protocols were flouted as people were not wearing any masks and maintaining social distancing with such a huge crowd is impossible, resulting in an alarming surge of cases. This rapid surge in cases sparked the shortage of hospital beds and other medical supplies.
Around 3.5 million people attended the first shahi snan -Somvati Amavasya holy dip on April 12. For Maha Shivratri on March 11, 3.2 million pilgrims had arrived for the bath. On the occasion of Mesh Sankranti-Baisakhi on April 14, around 1.3 million people arrived for the second shahi snan. On April 27, about 27,000 people had arrived for the third shahi snan. The released data said, “9.1 million pilgrims took the holy dip in Ganga from January 14 to April 27. Of these around 6 million people congregated in April.”
Sanjay Gunjiyal, Kumbh Mela Force inspector general said, “The major task of the force was to ensure peaceful completion of Kumbh with the support of Akharas, seers and local people and volunteers without violating Covid protocols.
Dr. Sanjay Shah who is vice president of the Association of Physician of India, Uttarakhand Chapter expressed his concerns over the case surge due to Kumbh 2021. He said, “Covid19 positive cases have risen sharply in Haridwar with back-to-back Shahi snans in mid-April which witnessed over 4 million pilgrims influx in a span of just two days. Testing and tracing need to be carried out at a large level now.
More than 100 seers and mela associates have contracted Covid infection and four have lost their lives. Haridwar has reported a surge in cases from 15,226 on April 1 to 31,596 cases. The state has reported total active 48,318 cases.