Hundreds of thousands of Hindu worshipers gathered Friday on the banks of the Ganges River in India for a holy bath even though coronavirus cases have increased 30-fold in the past month.
Hindus believe that bathing in the holy river on January 14 in the makar sankranti festival wash away the sins
A large number of devotees were taking a dip in the holy river where it flows through the eastern state of West Bengal, which reports the largest number of cases in the country after the state of Maharashtra in the West.
In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, thousands of devotees, few wearing masks, crowded the banks of the river in the holy city of Prayagraj.
“I can’t breathe with a mask,” said Ram Phal Tripathi, who came with his family from a village in the state of Uttar Pradesh, after leaving the river.
“Every year I come here for a holy dip. How could I have missed this year?”
India faces onslaught from Omicron variant
India again faces an increase in cases of coronavirus, mainly driven by the Omicron variant Highly communicable, but hospitalizations are low and most people recover at home.
Doctors unsuccessfully appealed to the West Bengal state high court to overturn the decision to allow the festival this year, worried it could become a “super spreader” event for the virus.
Last year, a large religious gathering in northern India contributed to a record rise in coronavirus cases.
On Friday, the Health Ministry reported 264,202 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing India’s total tally to 36.58 million.
deaths from COVID-19 they increased by 315, with the total now at 485,350, the ministry said.
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