Ahead of the Kumbh mela in Haridwar, the Uttarakhand government has issued standard operating procedures making it mandatory for devotees to produce a negative report of RT-PCR test conducted not earlier than 72 hours of arrival and warning of penal action against COVID-19 SOP violators.
Based on the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the SOP also makes it compulsory for devotees to bring a medical fitness certificate and an e-pass or e-permit issued to them after registering on the Kumbh Mela web portal, Chief Secretary Om Prakash said.
The Kumbh Mela is likely to begin on April 1 and will go on only for 28 days. The duration of Kumbh is being shortened to prevent spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The devotees may carry their test reports, fitness certificate and e-passes on their mobile phones or in hard copies for verification as and when required, Prakash said.
All state governments have been requested to widely publicise the SOP so that there is no confusion about it among the devotees, he said.
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The state health department has been asked to ensure that healthcare personnel and other frontline workers to be deployed on Kumbh duty are administered the COVID vaccine doses on priority, the official said.
Officials have also been asked to promote COVID appropriate behaviour like maintaining a distance of 6 feet between two persons in public places, wearing of masks and frequent hand sanitisation, the chief secretary said.
International travellers coming for Kumbh will also have to observe the SOP besides following the travel advisory available on the website of MoHFW for international arrivals.
Any violation of the SOP will attract penal action against the defaulters, he said.The SOP is to be adhered to at all facilities in the Kumbh Mela area including parking lots, ghats, railway stations, bus stands, hotels, guest houses, ashrams and dharmashalas during the entire duration of the event, he said.