A seer returning from the Kumbh Mela is tested for Covid-19 at the Sabarmati Railway Station in Ahmedabad | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A seer returning being tested for Covid-19 (representational image) | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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Ahmedabad: At least 22 people who returned to Ahmedabad from the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar Sunday tested positive for Covid-19 at the Sabarmati railway station.

Those who tested positive were taken to a quarantine facility — Samras Hostel, a part of Gujarat University — in a bus. ThePrint counted at least 22 people in the bus. 

These 22 people, including seers, were among around 200 passengers on the Haridwar-Ahmedabad Yoga Express, currently the only train between the two cities. As many as 34 passengers of the train had tested positive for Covid-19 Saturday, the first day of coronavirus tests at the station, in line with a directive issued by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.

In a statement Saturday, the CM had pointed to the delicate Covid situation in the state and called for all Kumbh returnees to be tested for Covid-19. 

Following the directive, a testing facility was set up at the city’s Sabarmati station by the Western Railway and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. A team of over 15 nurses from the SVP Hospital nearby, equipped with PPE kits, was posted at the station to conduct the tests.

While Rupani said the returnees have to be subject to the RT-PCR test, considered the gold standard of Covid testing, a nurse conducting the tests at the station said they were using rapid antigen tests (RAT), which are less reliable, for quicker results.

“Those who test positive are to be taken to quarantine facilities. For a confirmed diagnosis, they will also be subject to RT-PCR tests,” the nurse added.

Also Read: Kumbh Mela to be suspended? Akharas in talks as Covid tally rises, top seer dies, BJP ‘nudges’

‘We will all test negative’ 

The Kumbh Mela is one of the biggest events in the Hindu calendar and draws lakhs of devotees looking to take a dip in the holy waters and attend aarti on the Ganga’s banks.

The 2021 Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, whose duration has been cut down to a month from the usual three months, has been no different, despite the fact that it coincides with the second wave of Covid-19, a disease that can spread easily through close contact among individuals. Images from the Kumbh have shown blatant violations of the masking and distancing guidelines seen as key to Covid prevention. 

An estimated 1,701 attendees of the Haridwar Kumbh Mela, which started on 1 April and ends on 30 April, tested positive for Covid-19 between 10 and 14 April.

People returning from Kumbh at the Sabarmati Railway Station in Ahmedabad Sunday | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
People returning from Kumbh at the Sabarmati Railway Station in Ahmedabad Sunday | Praveen Jain | ThePrint

As the Yoga Express arrived at Platform 4 of the Sabarmati railway station at 3 pm, Lakhu Bhai, a 35-year-old Ahmedabad resident who had gone to the Kumbh Mela along with his two children, told ThePrint that he had “complete faith in Lord Mahadev” that nothing would happen to them. “We will all test negative,” he said.

Swami Karuna, who has his own ashram at the Vastral village near Ahmedabad, said he had tested negative. “I am back home and am healthy,” he added. 

Asked about the Covid cases reported at the Kumbh Mela, the seer said, “We haven’t seen anyone fall sick in our akhara (group of seers) yet. We are only seeing media reports with all these Covid numbers.”

(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)

Also Read: British govt to Modi govt — How Kumbh Mela has been organised through epidemics


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  1. These guys should be made to do compulsory ward duty in Ahmedabad hospitals and should be quarantined in te nearest Cow shelter for the first 14days

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