- Lately, India has been reporting a surge in daily COVID-19 cases
- According to experts, Holi gatherings can lead to an upsurge in COVID-19
- Experts have called for COVID appropriate behaviour especially during Holi
New Delhi: On Friday (March 26), India reported over 59,000 fresh COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day spike since October 18. Amid a continuous uptick in the COVID-19 cases in the country which is seen as the emergence of the second wave, Holi, the festival of colours, and spring is likely to be a low-key affair this year. The central government has already advised states and Union Territories (UTs) to impose restrictions in public observance of upcoming festivals and limit or do away with mass gatherings under the Disaster Management Act. In an attempt to contain the further spread of the COVID-19 in the country especially during the festive season, some states and UTs have announced restrictions on celebrations.
Here’s a list of states and union territories that have imposed curbs on Holi 2021 celebrations:
Maharashtra is one of India’s worst affected states with over 26 lakh COVID-19 cases reported so far. In the light of the rise in cases, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the civic body of Mumbai, has banned all public and private celebrations of Holika Dahan and Rang Panchami in the city. In a notice shared on social media on March 23, BMC warned of strict action against offenders.
Let’s Celebrate After The Virus Has Been Chased!
All private/public celebration of Holika Dahan & Rang Panchami has been prohibited to ensure #COVIDー19 doesn’t play a spoilsport.
— माझी Mumbai, आपली BMC (@mybmc) March 23, 2021
Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday (March 23) issued a new set of guidelines after it was observed that people were becoming complacent and flouting the COVID-19 appropriate norms during the pre-Holi festivities, said a senior official of the Home Department, Government of Uttar Pradesh. In a report from the news agency ANI, thousands of people gathered and huddled together at the Shri Radha Rani temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura celebrating ‘Laddu maar Holi’ on March 22 violating the COVID-19 norms. Most of the people participating in the celebration were without a face mask.
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 22, 2021
Similarly, in another Holi celebration ‘lath maar’ on Tuesday, thousands of people gathered to celebrate, most of whom, again, were without face masks and practiced no social distancing.
As per the advisory issued by the state government, any public functions or processions cannot be organised without prior permission from the district administration. Even after obtaining permission, the organisers will have to follow COVID safety protocols like maintaining physical distance, ensuring that people wear face masks and use hand sanitisers frequently among other preventive measures.
The guidelines state that people above 60 years, children below 10 years and those having comorbidities (the underlying conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney or heart ailments), have been advised to remain indoors during the festival.
Those coming from states that have a high virus load will have to undergo the COVID-19 test, say the guidelines.
While talking to NDTV, the official said that implementing all possible measures to stop the transmission is the only way to safeguard people from catching the infection. He said,
The pandemic is far from over. Doctors and the government are continuously telling people to remain vigilant and act wisely. But people are still becoming negligent. The surge in UP may not be as high as in the other states but the numbers are rising, and large gatherings do pose the risk of spreading the virus. This is why the state government has issued an advisory. I urge the citizens to follow this advisory. Holi is the festival that symbolises the triumph of the good over evil. Taking inspiration from the message of Holi, we must strive to defeat the coronavirus.
After a downfall in COVID-19 cases and deaths, Delhi has once again started to report over 1,000 fresh cases daily. Amid the sudden surge, the Delhi government on Tuesday (March 23) placed a bar on the public celebrations and gatherings during the upcoming Holi, Shab-e-Barat and Navratra festivals. The government said safety measures for COVID should be rigorously observed in public places, especially in markets and malls. The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) warned of strict legal action against violators.
With the persistently rising cases in the National Capital, Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has issued guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the upcoming festivals. Take a look! #IndiaFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/acXWspa34C
— MyGovIndia (@mygovindia) March 24, 2021
Joining the list of states which have barred Holi festival celebrations in the public like gatherings and processions, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij on March 24 informed that the state will follow the suit. Mr Vij took to social media and wrote, “In the light of the COVID-19 situation, the Haryana government has imposed a ban on the public celebration of Holi in the state.”
हरियाणा सरकार ने कोरोना के मद्देनजर होली का त्योहार सार्वजनिक तौर मनाने पर रोक लगाई ।
— ANIL VIJ MINISTER HARYANA (@anilvijminister) March 24, 2021
As reported by a news agency ANI, the Gujarat government has allowed Holi celebration traditionally, with limited rituals. Public celebration and mass events are not allowed on Dhuleti day (when people play with colours; March 29).
Considering the prevailing COVID19 situation in the state, Holi can be celebrated traditionally with limited rituals. Organizers need to be vigilant about strict adherence. Public celebrations & mass events will not be allowed on Dhuleti Day: Gujarat Goverment
— ANI (@ANI) March 24, 2021
On March 22, the Chandigarh administration ordered a ban on all Holi-related festivities and gatherings and asked clubs, hotels, restaurants and other such places to not allow any ceremonial gatherings for Holi. Sharing the directions on social media, V P Singh Badnore, Administrator, UT, Chandigarh, said, “The residents are requested to keep the celebrations confined only to their homes following appropriate COVID protocol. Taking precautions to keep COVID situation in control, it was decided to close all restaurants and eating places by 11PM. The last order can be taken till 10PM. Residents kindly co-operate with the COVID norms.”
All public Holi-Milan gatherings have been banned in #Chandigarh. The clubs, hotels, restaurants etc. will not allow any ceremonial gatherings for Holi. The residents are requested to keep the celebrations confined only to their homes following appropriate covid protocol.
— V P Singh Badnore (@vpsbadnore) March 22, 2021
The Meghalaya government on Thursday (March 25) issued a new Standard operating procedure (SOP) for Holi celebrations wherein it banned public celebrations and gatherings for the festival. The SOP issued by the Home (Political) Department, Government of Meghalaya lists generic preventive measures to be followed to reduce the risk of COVID-19. It includes, maintaining a minimum distance of 5 feet in public places, practising hand washing and respiratory etiquettes, mandating the use of a face mask, among others.
SOP for Holi Celebrations issued by the Home (Political) Department, Government of #Meghalaya.
— DIPR Meghalaya (@DiprMeghalaya) March 25, 2021
Further, regulation on festival celebration calls people to restrict playing with colours to family members only and that too within one’s own house. In the case of private celebrations, the number of people in a private gathering is restricted to 75 per cent of the seating capacity. And, it is necessary to make appropriate arrangements for personal protective gear like face masks, hand sanitisers, soap and other items.
All festive activities need to be concluded before 8PM.
Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan are some of the other states that have stepped up to contain the spread of COVID-19 during the upcoming festive season. From March-end, different festivals like Navratri, Shab-e-Barat, Chaitra Navratri, Ram Navami apart from Holi are lined up.
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