no one would face restrictions as “the faith in God will overcome the fear of Covid-19.” Days later, Mr. Rawat tested positive for Covid.

The positivity rate of random tests is rising at the festival, and more than 300 participants have tested positive, said Dr. Arjun Singh Senger, a health officer at the festival.

The sheer speed of new infections has surprised health officials, who wonder whether variants might be a factor. Answering that question will be difficult. India has put only about 1 percent of its cases through genome sequencing tests, according to Dr. Reddy, of the Public Health Foundation of India, but researchers require a minimum of 5 percent to determine what is circulating.

So far, the government has found variants from the U.K. and South Africa as well as a local mutation. Limited information suggests that more infectious variants are circulating in India, as well, Dr. Reddy said.

Even if the variants have not yet been a major part of the new wave of infections, they have cast a shadow over India’s crucial vaccination drive. The AstraZeneca vaccine has been rejected by South Africa ineffective against that variant.

“This time, the speed is much faster than the last time,” said Dr. Vinod K. Paul, the head of India’s Covid response task force. “The next four weeks are very, very crucial for us.”

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Hong Kong’s Virus Rules Keep Cases Low but Stoke Complaints

HONG KONG — A pandemic illness had struck Hong Kong, and the Worley family had gamely followed the rules. They wore masks. They socially distanced. They skipped traveling overseas with their newborn baby to visit his grandparents.

Then the coronavirus came to the playgroup of their 15-month-old son. Now the three of them are stuck in a spartan government quarantine center for 10 days.

“We’ve done everything that was asked of us,” said Kylie Davies-Worley, the mother, who is Australian. “We’ve complied with every regulation, we’ve stayed home when we needed to, yet we feel like we’ve been treated like second-class citizens. It’s not humane.”

Hong Kong’s targeted approach to fighting the virus entails temporarily restricting the freedoms of a few for the benefit of the many. The Chinese territory has avoided full lockdown largely by moving aggressively to stamp out the virus wherever it may appear, whether among taxi drivers and restaurant workers, in densely crowded, low-income neighborhoods, or at dance halls popular with older women.

told CNN.

a separate statement the same day, the government specified the amenities available to children in quarantine centers and said that “each and every decision has been made in the interests of the children and their families.”

Quarantine is nothing new in Hong Kong, which has one of the strictest policies in the world. People who test positive for the virus are isolated in hospitals for monitoring and treatment, regardless of whether they have symptoms, while their close contacts are quarantined for up to 14 days, even if they test negative. More than 42,000 people have passed through government quarantine facilities during the pandemic.

a New York Times database.

“One of the lessons from SARS is that targeted approaches like contact tracing and quarantine are a useful way to limit transmission of an infection, and that has been applied with great success with the Covid pandemic in Hong Kong,” said Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist and biostatistician at the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health, referring to the 2003 epidemic that killed 299 people in the Chinese territory. (Hong Kong has recorded 203 deaths from Covid-19.)

stop the protests from resuming.

That distrust is reflected in lower-than-expected participation in a citywide vaccination campaign, with residents especially skeptical of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine. On Monday, the government said it was expanding eligibility to everyone 30 and older to accelerate vaccination efforts.

Confusion, distrust and misinformation on social media have contributed to accusations of unequal treatment in quarantine decisions. Parents asked why some children were allowed to quarantine at home or in hotels instead of in government facilities; health officials say it depends on their degree of exposure to the virus.

The case of a couple working at the U.S. Consulate who tested positive for the virus but were allowed to bring their two children with them to the hospital caused further consternation and complaints of exceptional treatment. Mrs. Lam said the decision had been made based on the couple’s family circumstances and not their status as consular employees.

“Everybody is treated equal before the law and in terms of our epidemic control measures, regardless of their race, their status, their identity, whether they are more resourceful or less resourceful,” she said on Tuesday. “This is a fundamental principle in Hong Kong and we will abide by that principle.”

Though officials did relent on quarantine for some children, no such reversal came for members of the playgroup used by the Worley family. One of them, Jennifer Choi, is spending seven nights in a government center with her 13-month-old daughter.

Like the Worleys, Ms. Choi, who is from South Korea, said she had been careful to follow social-distancing rules. Her daughter often wears a face shield even though Hong Kong does not require masks for children under the age of 2.

So it was frustrating for her and other parents when officials cited the presence of maskless babies in the group as one reason all eight of them and their caregivers were being sent to government quarantine.

“What kind of logic is that?” Ms. Choi said.

Tiffany May contributed reporting.

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