Delhi residents visiting the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar have been advised to undergo RT-PCR test for COVID-19 on their return and self-monitor their health.
In an advisory, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has asked people attending the congregation to take extra precautions and follow COVID-19-related instructions issued by authorities.
A sizeable number of pilgrims from Delhi are expected to visit the mela beginning on April 1, it said.
“As advised by Uttarakhand government in view of COVID-19 pandemic, all the residents of Delhi are required to take extra precautions during their visit to Kumbh Mela in Haridwar,” the advisory stated.
Pilgrims from Delhi have been advised to strictly follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for managing the COVID-19 pandemic during the Kumbh Mela as well as all relevant instructions issued by the Uttarakhand government.
The Health Ministry SOP prescribes that all the visitors to Kumbh must produce a health certificate issued by a competent authority, which is a mandatory requirement for entering the Kumbh Mela area.
It said that the pilgrims are required to mandatorily produce a Negative RT-PCR Test report for COVID-19, not older than 72 hours prior to the date of visit, at the time of entry to the mela.
“All the persons are also advised to get COVID-19 RT-PCR test done after returning from Kumbh Mela and actively self-monitor their health as per prevailing health protocol prescribed by the governments,” it added.
All the visitors should mandatorily register on the Uttarakhand government portal prior to their visit and will install and use Aarogya Setu App at all times, according to the the SOP.
People above the age of 65, children below the age of 10, and those with comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac, pulmonary and kidney ailments, among others have been advised by the authority not to visit the Kumbh Mela.
The pilgrims must take other precautions such as wearing face mask, frequent hand washing and maintaining physical distance of six feet with one another, it said.
(Cover: Indian Hindu devotees gather at a ghat of the River Ganges during Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be great religious significance in Hindu mythology, on the first day of the religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on January 14, 2021 // Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)