A health worker collects a swab sample from a man to test for Covid-19 infection.(Bachchan Kumar / HT Photo)
A health worker collects a swab sample from a man to test for Covid-19 infection.(Bachchan Kumar / HT Photo)

Rajasthan makes Covid test mandatory to participate in religious festivals

The mass gathering events, said the secretary, have the potential to facilitate the transmission of the virus and disrupt the gains made by the country in Covid19 management.
PUBLISHED ON FEB 04, 2021 08:18 PM IST

The Rajasthan government has made the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) - the gold standard frontline test for coronavirus - results mandatory for those participating in religious events, festivals, or mela (fair). The government on Thursday issued standard operating procedures (SOP) to contain the spread of Covid19 during festivals and fairs.

Principal secretary, home department, Abhay Kumar said the government is responsible for instituting measures that prevent the spread of Covid19 during religious festivals, events, fairs and ensure prompt public health response to an outbreak.

“The government would widely publicise, and also convey to all other state governments that devotees with negative RT-PCR test reports shall only be allowed to enter all such religious festivals and fairs. The devotee may carry such test reports either on their mobile phones or hard copy,” said the officer.

The mass gathering events, said the secretary, have the potential to facilitate the transmission of the virus and disrupt the gains made by the country in Covid19 management. The top bureaucrat said the culture of Rajasthan reflects its splendid and vibrant history with ethnic and religious diversity, different cuisines, beautiful dances, and mesmerising music. The state is also rich in flora and fauna with some of the popular wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. Its varied culture and multi-religious background attract tourists and pilgrims from all over the world, he said.

The SOP directs that only vaccinated health care and frontline workers be deputed at such places for the duties. There should be registration of the devotees and a medical certification regimen on similar lines as being done for Amarnath yatra.

For infection prevention and control, the public utility areas and open spaces shall be sanitised at least twice a day with 1% of sodium hypochlorite, it states.

The religious event may witness a floating population of many thousands, a large number of samples may have to be tested during the event. Therefore, the number of testing centers needs to be augmented, states the SOP.

The enforcement agencies should levy fines on those not wearing masks or not following physical distancing norms, reads the SOP.

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