India: hundreds of thousands bathe in the Ganges, ‘Covid bomb’ – Asia

(ANSA) – NEW DELHI, 14 JAN – In spite of the pressing calls for anti-Covid precautions launched in recent days by the Indian authorities, several hundreds of thousands of faithful gathered at dawn today at the confluence of the Ganges River with the Sea of Bengal, in the state of West Bengal, to participate in the religious festival called Gangasagar. Hundreds of drones sprayed drops of water taken from the sacred river on people who arrived on the Sangar peninsula from all over the country, but this did not prevent gatherings along the banks to dive, almost all without wearing a mask.

Local security officials admitted that there were not enough numbers to contain the crowd: “It’s impossible to stop them,” an officer said. “These faithful believe that the bath will cleanse them of all sins and protect them from the virus.” The event, judged by epidemiologists as a “certain super outbreak”, was authorized last week by the High Court of Calcutta.

India yesterday registered 260,000 new cases of positivity to the virus, which is galloping across the country at a dizzying rate: in mid-December the cases were less than ten thousand every 24 hours. According to some forecasts, Covid could reach the peak of 800,000 new infections a day in a few weeks. As millions flock to the Ganges, the capital is preparing to experience the second lockdown weekend tonight, while Mumbai has banned meetings of more than four people. (HANDLE).