Pilgrims returning from the Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand's Haridwar will distribute coronavirus as "prasad" in their states, Mumbai's mayor said today as coronavirus cases ravage the country especially Maharashtra - the worst-affected state in India.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's mayor Kishori Pednekar also added that they are considering quarantining the pilgrims on their return to Mumbai. They must also bear the expenses of their quarantine, the Mayor added.
"Those returning from Kumbh Mela to their respective states will distribute corona as 'prasad'. All these people should be quarantined in their respective states at their own cost. In Mumbai also, we're thinking of putting them under quarantine on their return," Ms Pednekar said, ANI quoted her as saying.
Hundreds of thousands of devotees gathered for the Kumbh Mela on the banks of the river Ganga for a holy dip, escalating concerns about an exponential rise in Covid cases amid a countrywide spike in infections.
Ms Pednekar also said that a "complete lockdown" should be imposed in Mumbai due to the raging pandemic.
"95 per cent of Mumbaikars are adhering to COVID-19 restrictions. The remaining 5 per cent of people who are not following restrictions are causing problems to others. I think a complete lockdown should be imposed looking at the current COVID-19 situation," Ms Pednekar said, ANI quoted her as saying.
95% of Mumbaikars are adhering to COVID19 restrictions. The remaining 5% of people who are not following restrictions are causing problems to others. I think a complete lockdown should be imposed looking at the current COVID19 situation: BMC Mayor Kishori Pednekar#Mumbaipic.twitter.com/CtX56y9etI— ANI (@ANI) April 17, 2021
The Mayor's comments come as Maharashtra recorded the highest-ever surge in cases in the last 24 hours with 63,729 infections in a single day with 398 deaths. Maharashtra's caseload is past the 37-lakh mark now. State capital Mumbai logged 8,803 new cases and 53 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, just days ago, stopped short of enforcing a lockdown but announced tough restrictions for the next 15 days that include a ban on gatherings and only essential activities to break the chain of Covid infections that he said were "exploding dangerously" in the state. "The war has begun again," he said, addressing the state on the massive surge in cases.
The state has imposed a night curfew and weekend lockdowns to fight the rapid and the more deadly second wave of coronavirus.
Section 144 -- a rule that prohibits groups of more than four people -- will be in place across Maharashtra and only essential travel and services will be allowed, said Mr Thackeray, urging people to move to Work From Home and observe a "Janata Curfew" voluntarily. From 7 am to 8 pm only essential services will function, related to health care, banks, media, e-Commerce and fuel.
The curbs will be in place till May 1.
India's Covid caseload rose to 1.45 crore today with 2,34,692 fresh infections - the sharpest-ever daily spike - as the country recorded over 2 lakh cases for the third straight day. With 1,341 deaths, India saw the deadliest day of the pandemic this year.