Hundreds of thousands of Indians gather for holy dip and brave the COVID-19 wave - Market News
Home » Hundreds of thousands of Indians gather for holy dip and brave the COVID-19 wave
Covid-19

Hundreds of thousands of Indians gather for holy dip and brave the COVID-19 wave

Hundreds of thousands of Indians gather for holy dip and brave the COVID-19 wave

PRAYAGRAJ, India, Jan. 14 (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of Hindu worshipers gathered on the banks of the Ganges River in India for a holy bath on Friday, despite a 30-fold increase in coronavirus cases in the past month.

Hindus believe that a bath in the holy river on the Makarsankranti festival of January 14 washes away sins.

A large number of devotees took a dip in the holy river where it flows through the eastern state of West Bengal, which reports the highest number of cases in the country after the state of Maharashtra in the west.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, thousands of devotees, few in masks, crowded the riverbanks in the holy city of Prayagraj.

“I can’t breathe in a mask,” said Ram Phal Tripathi, who came with his family from a village in the state of Uttar Pradesh after coming out of the river.

“Every year I come for a holy dip. How could I have missed it this year?”

India is again facing a surge in coronavirus cases, fueled mainly by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, but hospital admissions are low and most people are recovering at home.

Doctors had unsuccessfully appealed to the high court of the state of West Bengal to overturn a decision to allow this year’s festival, fearing it will become a virus “super spreader” event.

Last year, a major religious gathering in northern India contributed to a record surge in coronavirus cases.

On Friday, the Ministry of Health reported 264,202 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing India’s total number to 36.58 million.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 rose by 315, with a total now at 485,350, the ministry said.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Ritesh Shukla in Prayagraj, additional reporting by Subrata Nagchoudhury in Kolkata; writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar in Mumbai; Editing by Mayank Bhardwaj, Christian Schmollinger and Michael Perry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.