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Hundreds of thousands of Indians gather for holy dip, defying COVID-19 surge By Reuters

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© Reuters. A healthcare employee collects a coronavirus illness (COVID-19) check swab pattern from a person, amidst the unfold of the illness, at a railway station in New Delhi, India, January 11, 2022. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

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PRAYAGRAJ, India (Reuters) -Hundreds of thousands of Hindu worshippers gathered on the banks of India’s Ganges river on Friday for a holy bathe regardless of a 30-fold rise in coronavirus instances up to now month.

Hindus consider a bathe within the holy river on the Jan. 14 Makarsankranti competition washes away sins.

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A big quantity of devotees had been taking a dip within the sacred river the place it flows by means of the japanese state of West Bengal, which is reporting probably the most quantity of instances within the nation after Maharashtra state within the west.

In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, thousands of devotees, few carrying masks, thronged the river’s banks within the holy metropolis of Prayagraj.

“I can not breathe with a masks,” Ram Phal Tripathi, who got here together with his household from a village in Uttar Pradesh state, mentioned after rising from the river.

“Every yr I come for a holy dip. How may I’ve missed it this yr?”

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India is once more dealing with a surge in coronavirus instances, fuelled principally by the extremely transmissible Omicron variant, however hospitalisations are low, with most individuals recovering at dwelling.

Doctors had appealed unsuccessfully to the West Bengal state excessive court docket to reverse a call to permit the competition this yr, worrying it’ll turn out to be a virus “tremendous spreader” occasion.

Last yr, a giant spiritual gathering in northern India contributed to a document rise in coronavirus instances.

On Friday, the well being ministry reported 264,202 new instances of the coronavirus within the earlier 24 hours, taking India’s complete tally to 36.58 million.

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Deaths from COVID-19 rose by 315, with complete now at 485,350, the ministry mentioned.

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