India Covid crisis: Uttarakhand govt suspends Char Dham Yatra
Last year, despite the Covid-19 crisis, about 420,000 pilgrims had visited the sites.
The Uttarakhand government has suspended the Char Dham Yatra, which was to start on May 14, because of the ongoing Covid crisis.
Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat announced on Thursday that only priests of the four temples will perform rituals and puja. The four sites include Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri all in the Himalayan mountains.
Last year, despite the Covid-19 crisis, about 420,000 pilgrims had visited the sites. In 2019, over 3.8 million pilgrims had undertaken the yatra.
Uttarakhand, the mountainous state, has over 45,000 active Covid cases. More than 2,400 patients have succumbed to the disease. The state witnessed a massive 1,800 per cent jump in active cases in April, especially after millions of pilgrims visited Hardwar for the Mahakumbh mela. According to the government, more than 3.5 million pilgrims had gathered at Hardwar on April 12.
There were thousands of pilgrims who did not wear masks and intermingled with the others, even in the river.
The Nainital high court ordered the state government to conduct 30,000-50,000 RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests in Dehradun, Haldwani, and Haridwar. It also directed the government to increase home isolation tests.
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