Tests? Quarantine? Here Are States’ Rules for Kumbh Returnees

Amid a horrific spike in COVID-19 cases, Haridwar’s Kumbh Mela is being viewed as a super-spreader event.

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Devotees gather to offer prayers during the third Shahi Snan of the Kumbh Mela 2021, at Har ki Pauri Ghat in Haridwar. (Image used for representational purpose only.)
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Amid a horrific spike in COVID-19 cases, Haridwar’s Kumbh Mela – attended in large, snugly-packed crowds comprising lakhs of devotees – is being viewed as a super-spreader event, causing many state governments to issue orders for those returning from the religious congregation.

A total of 1,701 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the Haridwar Kumbh Mela area from 10 April to 14 April, reported PTI. Panchayati Niranjani Akhada chief Ravindra Puri and 30 other sadhus also tested positive for the disease.

Specifically, what are the instructions for the Kumbh attendees in your state? Do they include mandatory RT-PCR tests? What about quarantine?

DELHI

Is quarantine mandatory and where can I do it?

Yes, a 14-day quarantine period is mandatory for Kumbh returnees, and can be carried out at home.

Is there anything else I should know?

As per a government order, those who visited Kumbh from 4 April onwards or those who plan to do so till end of the religious congregation at Haridwar on 30 April, will have to upload their personal details, ID proof, dates of departure and arrival at the website: www.delhi.gov.in

If a person returning from Haridwar Kumbh fails to upload his particulars on the Delhi government portal, they will be be sent to the institutional quarantine centre for 14 days by the district magistrates concerned.

GUJARAT

Is quarantine mandatory?

In Gujarat, no order has been issued in this regard, hence it is not yet mandatory for attendees to quarantine.

However, devotees have been asked to take an RT-PCR test before returning to their hometowns. Those who test positive will be isolated.

Collectors of all the districts have been directed to identify the Kumbh returnees. Further, CM Vijay Rupani has said that the collectors have been asked to keep a watch on the returnees and “enforce a nakabandi' (security checking) to prevent their entry into their hometowns without undergoing an RT-PCR test”.

ODISHA

Is quarantine mandatory and where can I do it?

The Odisha government has said that all returnees from the Kumbh Mela will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period.

The quarantine can be completed at home or at temporary medical camps (TMC), Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena said in an order.

But do I also need an RT-PCR test if I am quarantining myself anyway?

Yes. A Kumbh attendee cannot set foot into Odisha without a mandatory RT-PCR test report.

How will the state government track the returnees?

The Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) said the list of people, who got themselves registered with the Uttarakhand government for participating in the Kumbh Mela, has been shared with collectors and municipal commissioners to ascertain their location and travel plans.

"All such people must be personally tracked, their health condition monitored. They must be compulsorily RT-PCR tested," a government order said.

ASHA and Anganwadi Workers will regularly visit the symptomatic returnees to monitor their health conditions, it added.

MADHYA PRADESH

Is quarantine mandatory?

Yes. The MP government has asked district officials to quarantine all those coming back from the Kumbh Mela.

How will the state government keep an eye on the Kumbh attendees?

The order by Madhya Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Rajesh Rajora has asked that district officials also provide a dedicated phone number where people can give information about pilgrims returning from the Kumbh.

Further, all returnees have been asked to inform their district administration about their arrival.

MAHARASHTRA

Is quarantine mandatory?

The Maharashtra government has ordered that all Kumbh returnees should undergo quarantine at home for at least 10 days.

Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar also stated that those returning from Kumbh Mela should be quarantined for ten days in hotels and a negative test report will be required to end the quarantine.

KARANATAKA

Is quarantine mandatory?

The state Health Minister K Sudhakar, on 15 April, announced that those returning from Kumbh Mela will have to get themselves tested and stay in home quarantine for 14 days, even if found negative.

TELANGANA

Is quarantine mandatory? 

Yes, the Telangana government announced on Friday, 23 April that all those who were attending the Kumbh Mela from 1 to 17 April will have to quarantine themselves for 14 day after returning to the state from Haridwar.

What if someone develops symptoms?

If anyone develops any symptoms, they shall contact the nearest health centre for treatment. Moreover, if anyone suspects any symptoms, they can reach for help at 104 helpline.

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