Devotees who wish to attend the forthcoming Kumbh Mela must bring a COVID-19 negative RT-PCR test report, according to a standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by the Centre for holding the religious congregation.
The RT-PCR test must be conducted within 72 hrs of the date of the visit, stated the document by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The Uttarakhand government shall ensure that healthcare and other frontline workers engaged during Kumbh Mela medical and public health operations are vaccinated on priority.
Only vaccinated healthcare and other frontline workers are deputed for Kumbh Mela duties, it said.
As far as possible, people must maintain a six-feet distance in public places and wear masks, the SOP stated, while the authorities have been directed to ensure the devotees adhere to COVID-appropriate behaviour during the Kumbh.
Mask dispensing kiosks at government-approved rates may be set up at entry points and parking lots. Provision should be kept for distribution of free masks to those who cannot afford them, it said.
Enforcement agencies should levy penalties on defaulters for not wearing masks or face covers or for not following physical distancing norms, the SOP stated.
Those aged more than 65 years, pregnant women, children below the age of 10, those with underlying comorbid conditions such should be discouraged to attend the Kumbh Mela, it said.
Devotees visiting the Kumbh Mela must register with the Uttarakhand government and obtain a compulsory medical certificate from the nearest community Health centre district hospital and medical college in their state.
The Kumbh Mela administration should identify spatial boundaries of the fairground keeping in view the physical distancing requirements and prepare a detailed site plan which would facilitate compliance with thermal screening, physical distancing and sanitization.
Kumbh Mela administration should make arrangements for adequate ambulances and build a temporary hospital with 1,000 beds which can be being expanded to 2,000 beds.
The likely dates for the event are from February 27 to April 30. It is expected that about 10 lakh people will attend the fair on a normal day and about 50 lakh people will attend the mela on auspicious days.