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Kumbh Mela: Centre warns of Covid surge, asks Uttarakhand govt to impose strict curbs

File Photo: The centre has also asked the Uttarakhand government to target significantly enhanced testing in potential high transmission areas (AFP)Premium
File Photo: The centre has also asked the Uttarakhand government to target significantly enhanced testing in potential high transmission areas (AFP)

Currently, more than 12 states in India have shown a surge in covid-19 cases during past few weeks, and pilgrims expected to visit Haridwar during the Kumbh Mela could also be from these States, Rajesh Bhushan said

The Centre has warned the Uttarakhand government of a potential surge in covid-19 cases in the local population in Haridwar after the auspicious Shahi Snan days during the ongoing Kumbh Mela.

Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, Union ministry of health and family welfare, has written to the chief secretary of Uttarakhand, Om Prakash, highlighting the concerns raised by the high-level central team after its visit to the state and about the need for stringent measures to control the spread of covid-19 during the Kumbh Mela.

The central team led by the director of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) visited Uttarakhand on 16-17 March to review the medical and public health measures undertaken by the state for the Kumbh Mela.

“More than 12 states in India have shown a surge in covid-19 cases in the past few weeks and pilgrims expected to visit Haridwar during the Kumbh Mela could also be from these states. According to the report of the central team, 10-20 pilgrims and 10-20 locals are being reported positive every day. This positivity rate has the potential to rapidly turn into a surge in cases, given the expected large footfall during Kumbh," Bhushan said in the letter.

The state has been informed that the daily testing numbers reported in Haridwar (50,000 Rapid Antigen and 5,000 RT-PCR tests) are not adequate to effectively offset the huge expected pilgrim footfall. It has been advised that the share of RT-PCR tests being conducted needs to be significantly increased according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines to ensure that the pilgrims and the local population are appropriately tested.

The Centre has advised the state government to undertake measures such as scrupulously following guidelines issued by the Union health ministry, increasing awareness of self-reporting, especially among the local population, in case of symptoms suggestive of covid-19, to prevent the spread of the virus

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