India hit by the second Covid wave, sees an alarming surge in infections. Huge gatherings of tens of thousands of pilgrims – along the banks of the Ganga – in the last few days have sparked nationwide concern. Prime Minister Narendra Modi this morning appealed that the mega Kumbh Mela “should now only be symbolic amid coronavirus crisis”, stressing that it will give a boost to the fight against the pandemic. “I appealed that two ”shahi snan” (royal baths) have taken place and Kumbh (participation) should now be kept symbolic. This will give a boost to the fight against this crisis,” PM Modi tweeted in Hindi.
India has been witnessing an unprecedented surge in Covid cases for the last few weeks. This morning, 2,34,692 fresh COVID-19 cases were reported in the biggest daily spike so far.
Kumbh Mela – a mass congregation of pilgrims who gatther to take a holy dip in a sacred river- “is considered to be the largest peaceful gathering in the world,” according to a government website. A ritual bath – at a predetermined time and place – is the major event of the festival, it says.