As hundreds of thousands of Hindu worshipers flocked to attend the Kumbh Mela in the Uttarakhand town of Haridwar, international media reported that the rally was allowed to take place despite the massive increase in coronavirus cases in India.
India on Thursday recorded more than 2 lakh new cases a global record since the pandemic outbreak in January 2020. India now has 1,40,74,564 cases and 1,73,123 deaths.
Some fan fame is visiting Kumbh Mela every day, but only a few are being tested and other basic protocols related to Covid-19 such as wearing masks, thermal screening and checking negative test reports have been ignored. The mela is scheduled to run until April 30th.
Infections in Haridwar have increased to more than 2,000 in the last five days
Experts have warned that religious rallies and farmers’ protests will be super-spreaders of the coronavirus, but authorities have ruled out the possibility of cutting Kumbh Mela.
Photos from Monday showed large crowds gathering to bathe in the Ganges, with police powerless to enforce social distance measures, time said the magazine. He also focused on a quote from police officers who said it was virtually impossible to follow Covid’s instructions due to large crowds.
New York Times reported that along with the religious festival in Haridwar, political rallies in countries heading towards elections have fueled the coronavirus crisis. While the Delhi High Court ruled that wearing a mask inside a vehicle was mandatory even if the driver was alone, Union Interior Minister Amit Shah was seen waving at a large crowd in West Bengal without a mask, the newspaper noted.
He used Uttarakhand Prime Minister Tirath Singh Rawats who comments that the faith of the saints will overcome the fear of Covid-19. Rawat had tested positive for coronavirus days later in March.
New York Times also carried a photograph of a sea of saints sinking in the Ganges River.
Associated Press went with the title: Big Meetings at Hindu Hindu Festival as the virus sprouts.
Critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu-Nationalist Party Bharatiya Janata say the festival was allowed at a time when infections are on the rise because the government is unwilling to anger Hindus, who are the party’s biggest supporters, the report said. highlight the stark contrast in the response of the Bharatiya Janata Party governments to Kumbh Mela and the Tablighi Jamaat gathering.
The Nizamuddin Markaz Congregation in New Delhi was blamed for thousands of coronavirus infections across the country in the early weeks of the nationwide blockade which began on March 25, 2020. The event had renewed stigma against Muslims, sparking a wave of boycotts. business and hate speech against them.
ABC News also posted on Twitter a video of pilgrims gathering at Kumbh Mela, dismissing physical distance instructions.
An editorial at Washington Post said India is plagued by Covid-19 infections but still people without face masks bathe in the Ganges River. News reports say some people are lying on the street outside some hospitals, unable to find a bed, amid warnings from doctors that oxygen and fan supplies are low, the editorial noted the situation in India.
Al Jazeera also wondered if Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to call the rally because of possible reaction from religious leaders in the country. Hundreds of thousands of ascetic ascetics and devout Hindus flocked to dive into the Ganges during the religious festival on Wednesday, hoping to wash away their sins after India reported another record rise in coronavirus infections, its report said.
A member of Kumbh Mela Organizing Committee, meanwhile, told AFP that trust is the biggest thing for us, despite the rapid jump in coronavirus cases. It is because of this strong belief that so many people have come here to dive into the Ganges, Siddharth Chakrapani added.
AFP described the crowd of worshipers at Kumbh Mela as noisy as they dive into the holy waters. Large crowds of mostly unmasked Hindu worshipers descended into the Ganges River, the report said.
BBC reported that hundreds of saints, including nine saints, tested positive for coronavirus at religious gatherings. There has been growing criticism of the government for allowing the meeting to take place even when India registers huge increases in daily cases, she said, noting concerns raised by health experts.
He added that the second wave of the pandemic was wreaking havoc in India, with shortages of vaccines, hospital beds, life-saving medicines and medical oxygen reported across states.