Ahead of the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, the Uttarakhand government has issued standard operating procedures making it mandatory for devotees to produce a negative report of RT-PCR test conducted not earlier than 72 hours of arrival and warning of penal action against COVID-19 SOP violators. This year, the duration of Kumbh is being shortened to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the SOP also makes it compulsory for devotees to bring a medical fitness certificate and an e-pass or e-permit issued to them after registering on the Kumbh Mela web portal, Chief Secretary Om Prakash said.
- The devotees may carry their test reports, fitness certificate, and e-passes on their mobile phones or in hard copies for verification as and when required.
- All state governments have been requested to widely publicise the SOP so that there is no confusion about it among the devotees.
- The state health department has been asked to ensure that healthcare personnel and other frontline workers to be deployed on Kumbh duty are administered the COVID vaccine doses on priority.
- Officials have also been asked to promote COVID-appropriate behaviour like maintaining a distance of 6 feet between two persons in public places, wearing masks and frequent hand sanitisation.
- International travellers coming for Kumbh will also have to observe the SOP besides following the travel advisory available on the website of MoHFW for international arrivals.
- Any violation of the SOP will attract penal action against the defaulters.
- The SOP is to be adhered to at all facilities in the Kumbh Mela area including parking lots, ghats, railway stations, bus stands, hotels, guest houses, ashrams, and dharmashalas during the entire duration of the event.
The government has issued some guidelines that need to be followed by the Kumbh Mela visitors:
- Use Bathing Ghats that are authorized by the Mela administration only and that are nearest to place of stay in the Mela area.
- Inform the authorities if any unidentified or suspicious object/activity is found.
- Follow the instructions given by the Mela Administration through the PA System or any other modes.
- Cooperate with the departments involved in organizing the Mela.
- Reach out to the Lost and Found Centres for the loss of loved ones and belongings.
- Don’t carry too much baggage while travelling and avoid carrying valuables.
- Don’t use plastic bags in the city and mela area.
- Don’t trust strangers offering something to eat in the name of Prasad.
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