Haridwar reported over 1,000 COVID-19 cases in just two days as lakhs took a dip in the Ganga on the second shahi snan (royal bath) on April 12.
Uttarakhand on April 13 recorded the highest single-day spike in coronavirus cases and deaths this year as 1,925 more people tested positive and 13 patients succumbed to the virus.
At least 594 cases were reported in Haridwar, pushing the city's active caseload to 2,812.
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The state's tally has increased to 1,12,071 and there are 9,353 active cases at present.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat appealed to the people to follow COVID guidelines during the third Shahi Snan on April 14, a day after all precautions were brazenly ignored during the event.
Rawat said separate timings for the holy dip by each Akhada at Har ki Pauri have been earmarked while the rest of the Ghats will be open for devotees and asked all to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and sanitise their hands.
Kumbh Mela: Thousands take dip in Ganga on Shahi Snan amid rising COVID cases
Masks were not worn by a large proportion of devotees and social distancing appeared impossible at an event in which, according to Rawat, about 35 lakh people participated.
He also said that Kumbh comes once in 12 years and is linked with the faith and sentiments of millions of people. "Holding it successfully amid the challenge posed by Covid-19 by ensuring that the SOP is strictly followed by all is our goal," he said.
Read: COVID norms go for toss as millions take a dip in Ganga; over 100 found positive
Rawat said people's health is a priority but matters of faith cannot be totally ignored. "Cases have of course risen of late but we are following the health ministry guidelines and the recovery rate is good. Arrangements are also adequate to deal with any situation," he said.
Held once every three years, Kumbh Mela is often labelled the world's largest religious gathering, but the 2021 event has posed a challenge to health officials who are struggling to enforce pandemic safety measures.Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic