States rush to test Kumbh returnees

2 weeks ago 26
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A Sadhu bathes in the Ganges river during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival, in Haridwar on April 12, ...Read More

NEW DELHI: Fearing that

Kumbh Mela

returnees may turn Covid ‘super spreaders’, several states have decided to screen the pilgrims and quarantine them if needed.
Maharashtra government on Saturday held talks with railway authorities on curbs for pilgrims returning from Haridwar. Self-quarantining and possible rapid antigen tests are being considered, senior officials said. “RT-PCR testing of those returning is difficult to consider given the shortage of kits and the lag in results,” a senior official said.Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar said those returning from Kumbh Mela should be quarantined at their own expense.
After the Gujarat government announced that all Kumbh returnees will be screened, the Western Railway authorities tested around 330 passengers, of which 33 tested positive.
Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani told reporters earlier in the day,“Every returnee will be


tested and if found positive, will be isolated for 14 days.”
A day after a Kumbh-returnee sadhu died of Covid in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Chouhan on Saturday ordered to screen and quarantine all those returning from Haridwar.
In Jabalpur, officials identified two dozen people and three disciples who had come in contact with the sadhu who died on Friday. The three disciples have tested positive for Covid-19. There are reports of the head of a wellknown temple in Bhopal being hospitalized with Covid after returning from Kumbh.
On Thursday,


health minister

K Sudhakar

urged those returning from Kumbh to stay in home quarantine and get tested. “They can go back to their routine only if they test negative.” However, health experts have said everyone who went to the Kumbh Mela must stay in home quarantine for 14 days even if found negative.

on Saturday decided to put all returnees in 14-day quarantine, irrespective of their Covid status.
(Inputs from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar)

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