But the authorities in Uttar Pradesh state, where Prayagraj is located, have refused to ban this year's event. On Thursday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath appealed to people to follow all necessary Covid protocols during the event, known as Magh Mela. However, infections are being reported from the mela ground even before the start of the event. A large tent city has sprung up on the river bank in the past few days to house the pilgrims and authorities say more than 5,000 policemen are being deployed to manage the crowds.
Senior police official Rajeev Narayan Mishra confirmed on Thursday that at least 38 police personnel on duty had tested positive, sparking fears that the festival could turn into an infection hotspot in the coming days.