Haridwar: Devotees gather to offer prayers during the third Shahi Snan of the Kumbh Mela 2021, at Har ki Pauri Ghat in Haridwar, Wednesday, April 14, 2021.
Haridwar: Devotees gather to offer prayers during the third Shahi Snan of the Kumbh Mela 2021, at Har ki Pauri Ghat in Haridwar, Wednesday, April 14, 2021.
(PTI Photo)

Dehradun: The head of the Maha Nirvani Akhara from Madhya Pradesh Swami Kapil Dev who was under treatment for COVID-19 at a private hospital here has died, an official said on Thursday. The akhara's Mahamandaleshwar, who had come to attend the ongoing Kumbh Mela in Haridwar from Madhya Pradesh, was admitted to the Kailash Hospital here after his RT-PCR test result, Haridwar's Chief Medical Officer S K Jha said. Swami Kapil Dev passed away at the hospital on April 13, Superintendent of Police (City) Sarita Dobhal said.

Over 1,700 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Haridwar Kumbh Mela area from April 10 to 14 confirming fears that one of the world's largest religious gatherings may contribute further to the rapid rise in coronavirus cases. Medical workers conducted 2,36,751 tests over the five-day period in the mela site. Out of these, 1,701 came out positive for coronavirus.

The numbers include both RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Test reports of devotees and seers of different akharas (ascetic groups) over the five-day period in the entire mela site extending from Haridwar to Devprayag, Jha said.

More RT-PCR test reports are awaited and the trend shows that the number of infected persons in the Kumbh Mela site is likely to climb to 2,000, he said.

The Kumbh Mela area is spread over 670 hectares covering parts of Haridwar, Tehri and Dehradun districts, including Rishikesh.

A majority of the 48.51 lakh people who took part in the last two 'royal baths' (shahi snan) held on the occasion of Somwati Amavasya on April 12 and Mesh Sankranti on April 14 were seen openly violating COVID norms like wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing.

Despite their best efforts, the police could not impose the standard operating procedures (SOPs) on the seers of akharas and the ash-smeared ascetics thronging Har Ki Pairi ghat on the two major bathing days due to severe time constraints.

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