COVID-19 in Karnataka: Govt asks persons returning to state from Kumbh Mela to undergo RT-PCR test

Owing to a massive rise in COVID-19 cases, the Commissioner, Health and Family Services of Karnataka today issued orders stating that persons returning to Karnataka after taking part in the Kumbh Mela at Haridwar should get their RT-PCR test done immediately on return.

Karntaka has seen a sudden surge in the cases, Bengaluru being one of the major hotspots in the state. In a bid to avoid spread of the virus even more the health department of the state has taken this decision.

Meanwhile, 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, Haridwar's Chief Medical Officer Shambhu Kumar Jha said on Thursday.

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.

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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