Even as Uttarakhand Reels From Sharp Spike in COVID Cases, Char Dham Yatra To Go Ahead
Last week, the Uttarakhand high court had observed that the pilgrimage cannot be allowed to turn into another Kumbh Mela.
New Delhi: Despite the 1800% increase in Uttarkhand’s active COVID-19 cases in the period coinciding with the Kumbh Mela, the state government has given its green signal to hold the annual Char Dham yatra from May 14.
The state government has agreed to allow the pilgrimage to four shrines – Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath – despite criticism that the Kumbh Mela had allowed the virus to spread in the state. On March 31, the state only had 1,863 active cases. By April 27, this number shot up to 43,032.
The fresh standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the four day Char Dham yatra, which is yet to be issued by the government, are expected to include the requirement of a negative RT-PCR test, online registration for e-passes, banning pilgrims from entering the sanctum sanctorum and banning hand-to-surface contact. Wearing masks will be compulsory and offerings such as flowers or sweets will not be allowed.
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TheWire.in, 28 April, 2021, https://thewire.in/health/uttarakhand-sharp-spike-covid-19-cases-char-dham-yatra-kumbh-mela