Despite the urgent calls for precautions against Covid by the Indian authorities in recent days, several hundred thousand believers gathered at dawn today at the confluence of the Ganges River with the Bengal Sea, in the western state. Bengal, to take part in a religious festival called Gangasagar. Hundreds of drones sprayed droplets of water taken from the sacred river on people who arrived at the Sangar Peninsula from all over the country, but this did not stop the gatherings along the banks from diving, almost all without wearing a mask.
Local security officials admitted there were not enough numbers to contain the crowd and one officer said it was “impossible to stop them”. “These believers believe that pigeons will cleanse them of all sins and protect them from the virus.” The event, which epidemiologists judged as a “certain super-outbreak”, was approved last week by the Calcutta High Court.
India yesterday recorded 260,000 new positive cases of the virus, which is spreading across the country at an astonishing rate: in mid-December, there were less than ten thousand cases every 24 hours. According to some forecasts, the Covid virus may reach a peak of 800,000 new infections per day in a few weeks. As millions flock to the Ganges, the capital is preparing to experience its second weekend lockdown tonight, while Mumbai has banned meetings of more than four people.
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