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Amid COVID-19 surge, Uttarakhand government cancels Char Dham Yatra

Only the priests of the four temples will be allowed to perform the puja and other rituals.

April 29, 2021 / 12:40 PM IST

The Uttarakhand government has suspended this year's Char Dham Yatra as coronavirus cases continue to rise, chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat said on April 29, a day after the hill state reported a record spike in infections. Only the priests of the four temples will perform the puja and other rituals, ANI reported.

The government recently came under fire for mishandling the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar where hundreds of thousands of people gathered for a holy dip in the Ganges, violating the mask and social distancing norms.

The huge gathering saw many people test positive for COVID-19 and critics have slammed the government for turning a blind eye to the "super-spreader" event.

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On April 28, there were reports that the Uttarakhand government would go ahead with the char dham yatra from May 14. The government said it would come with fresh SOPs that would include a negative RT-PCR test, online registrations and e-passes for the annual pilgrimage to the four holy shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

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The state recorded the highest single-day spike of 6,054 COVID-19 cases on April 28, taking the tally to 1,68,616, while 108 deaths pushed the toll to 2,417. There are 45,383 active COVID-19 cases in the state, while 1,17,221 have recovered, a health department bulletin said.

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