Uttarakhand CM Rawat tests positive for Covid-19

Two days ago, Uttarakhand chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat had said in Haridwar, “faith will overcome fear of virus”
Uttarakhand chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat in the crowd of pilgrims and seers during shahi snan on March 11 in Haridwar with hardly anyone following Covid-19 norms like wearing facemasks or maintaining social distance. (HT Photo)
Uttarakhand chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat in the crowd of pilgrims and seers during shahi snan on March 11 in Haridwar with hardly anyone following Covid-19 norms like wearing facemasks or maintaining social distance. (HT Photo)
Published on Mar 22, 2021 02:12 PM IST
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Two days after Uttarakhand chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat said faith will overcome fear of virus, he tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday.

Rawat tweeted, “My Corona test report has come positive. I am fine and not facing any difficulty. I have isolated myself under the monitoring of doctors. Those of you who have come into contact with me in last few days, should be cautious and get their tests done. I wish good health to all”.

Rawat visited Haridwar thrice after becoming the chief minister and mingled with huge crowds of pilgrims and ascetics, with hardly anyone following Covid-19 norms. Rawat himself was not wearing any mask, as is evident in the images taken of him in Haridwar during the shahi snan on March 11.

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Haridwar recorded the maximum number of active Covid-19 cases out of all 13 districts in the state. After Rawat took charge as chief minister, he stressed that there should be no unnecessary restriction on pilgrims wishing to attend the Mahakumbh. Two days ago, during his visit to Haridwar, Rawat said, “Nobody will be stopped in the name of Covid-19, as we are sure the faith in God will overcome the fear of the virus”.

Worried over the situation in Haridwar in the context of Mahakumbh and Rawat’s recent statements,the Centre on Sunday directed Uttarakhand to take stringent measures to check the spread of Covid-19 during Mahakumbh.

Rajesh Bhushan, Union secretary, ministry of health and family welfare, wrote to chief secretary, Uttarakhand, Om Prakash, that currently over 12 states in India have shown a surge in Covid-19 cases during the past few weeks, and cases could rise in the local population after the shahi snan days during the Kumbh Mela. The secretary also noted that as per the report of the Central team that visited Haridwar a few days ago, 10 to 20 pilgrims and 10 to 20 locals are testing positive for Covid-19 every day in Haridwar. This positivity rate has the potential to rapidly turn into an upsurge in cases, given the expected large footfall during Kumbh, the secretary stressed.

In January, the Central government had issued an SOP for Mahakumbh, with strict guidelines like mandatory negative Covid-19 test report, following which the state government also issues guidelines for Mahakumbh. But Rawat, who visited Haridwar thrice after taking charge,has been repeatedly saying there won’t be unnecessary restrictions on pilgrims.

Uttarakhand has so far reported 98,448 Covid-19 cases, of which 14,566 cases are from the Haridwar district.

Millions of pilgrims flock to Mahakumbh, especially on shahi snan (royal holy bath days) days. The first was on March 11 and the remaining three are on April 12, April 14 and April 27. Images of the first shahi snan showed visitors gathered in large groups as 3.3 million attended the event without following Covid-19 norms.

In December last year, then chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had also tested positive for Covid-19 and isolated himself at his residence. Rawat had also shared the development on his Twitter handle.

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Friday, October 22, 2021