Kumbh mela returnees may exacerbate COVID-19 pandemic: Raut

Mumbai: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday expressed apprehension that the people returning from Kumbh mela in Haridwar will turn out to be potential carriers of COVID-19 infection which will “cause havoc”.

Raut’s comments came a day after lakhs of devotees took the holy dip at various ghats of the Ganga river in Haridwar.

Also, thousands of saffron-clad seers and ash-smeared Nagas had flouted COVID-19 norms and converged at Har Ki Pairi in the holy town in Uttarakhand for a holy dip during the second royal bath of the Kumbh Mela on Monday.

“It is painful for the Shiv Sena to put restrictions on our festivals and religious celebrations but the party dares to do so to save the lives of people. Our priority is to save as many lives as possible. I believe that people coming from the Kumbh mela will cause further spread of COVID-19 cases, which will cause havoc,” he said.

Speaking to reporters separately earlier in the day, Mumbai guardian minister and Congress leader Aslam Shaikh had said the state government will also have to decide guidelines regarding the people returning from Kumbh mela as COVID-19 appropriate behaviour was not followed at the congregation.

Maharashtra is the worst-affected state in the country in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities.

As of Monday, the caseload in the state stood at 34,58,996 while the overall death toll is 58,245, as per the state health department.

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