Mahakumbh begins, HC tells state to increase testing
The Uttarakhand high court has directed the state government to increase daily Covid-19 testing in Haridwar from 5,000 to 50,000, as the city prepares for the Mahakumbh.
Hearing a bunch of petitions on the Covid-19 pandemic, the HC also directed the state to release its Covid-19 numbers on the government website.
Shiv Bhatt, counsel of one of the petitioners, said the HC has directed the government that vaccination centres and testing facilities be increased in Mahakumbh area. “Court today also clarified that those who have a certificate that they have received both doses of COVID vaccine can come to Mahakumbh,” Bhatt said.
Around 30 to 50 million pilgrims are expected to visit the Mahakumbh which is set to begin in the state on Thursday.
The state recorded 293 new cases on Wednesday, taking the state’s tally to 100,411. A total of 15,743 samples were tested in the state on Wednesday.
After experts raised concerns that the congregation could become a superspreader event, the HC on March 5 constituted a committee to inspect the preparations and infrastructure, and submit reports by March 23.
“The reports pointed out that there is a need to make more hand sanitisers available in the Mahakumbh area and have proper drinking water arrangements. We also highlighted some shortcomings in many hospitals in Haridwar... The chief secretary will again inspect the Kumbh area on April 6 and the compliance report regarding inspections has to be filed before the court by April 13,” Bhatt said.