Uttarakhand govt suspends ‘Char Dham Yatra’ this year amid COVID-19 surge

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat announced the suspension of Char Dham Yatra and said that only priests of the four temples will perform rituals and puja.

The Uttarakhand government on Thursday, announced the suspension of Char Dham Yatra this year. The yatra was scheduled to start from May 14. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat reportedly said that only priests of the four temples will perform rituals and puja, reported news agency ANI.

“Uttarakhand government has suspended the Char Dham Yatra this year in view of COVID-19 situation in the state. Only priests of the four temples will perform rituals and puja,” Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh Rawat said as quoted by the NDTV.

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The landmark move comes in wake of the second wave of the novel coronavirus as the nation has already seen an unprecedented spike in the cases.

The four pilgrimage sites are Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri in Uttarakhand.

According to the data submitted by the State Health Department, Uttarakhand had recorded 6,054 new COVID-19 cases and 108 deaths on Wednesday and there are 45,383 active COVID-19 cases in the state, while 1,17,221 have recovered.

Meanwhile, religious processions like Kumbh Mela (celebrated in Haridwar from April 10-14) – has come under public scrutiny as over 1,700 people were tested positive for COVID-19 in the festival – confirming fears that one of the world’s largest religious gatherings may contribute further to the rapid rise in coronavirus cases.

The sudden escalation of Covid-19 cases flagged concerns across the nation and India has been struggling to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

India on Thursday created yet another grim record with 3,79,257 new coronavirus cases, as the total number of infections since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 1,83,76,524. This is the highest ever single-day rise in cases reported by any country so far, and the eighth consecutive day when India has recorded more than 3 lakh cases, reported Scroll.