According to the mela administration, 332 people (of 14,915 tested) reported Covid positive on Thursday. The administration doesn’t have any record of the total number of Covid deaths among those attending the religious fair. Of the 13,415 tested on Wednesday, 119 were positive; 79,301 people were tested since April 12 and 745 found positive.
Secretary of the Niranjani Akhada Mahant Ravindra Puri said that “most of the saints and their followers” in the camps at Haridwar have Covid-19 like symptoms due to which saints of the akhada have decided to end the mela from April 17.
Director-general of health Dr Tripati Bahuguna said, “The private hospital where Mahamandaleshwar Kapil Dev Das was admitted has shared information with the health department that the seer was admitted to their facility on April 12 and he breathed his last on April 13. He had kidney ailments before Covid-19 struck him. He was undergoing dialysis too.”
The place in Kankhal where the seer had been camping houses 10,000 more saints and followers. Haridwar CMO Dr SK Jha said a health department team would visit the area on Friday, sanitise it and collect samples of all those staying there.
Meanwhile, 33 policemen on their way back from Kumbh (between January and April 15) also tested positive. Many of them had reportedly taken both doses of the coronavirus vaccine. This came even as Mahant Hari Giri, general secretary of Akhada Parishad, apex body of all 13 akhadas, said, “It is right that (Covid) cases are increasing and we are discussing with the representatives of all 13 akhadas about the situation. We will take a final decision soon.” The Kumbh mela will end on April 30 officially and the next royal bath is on April 27. The Akhada Parishad is planning to take part in the next royal bath but only a few saints will go for the dip.