- No processions to be carried out without prior permission: UP Government
- People returning for Holi from states with high COVID cases must be tested
- People with co-morbidities should not participate in public celebrations
New Delhi: Prompted by the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state and the risk of another wave of infections, Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday (March 23) issued a new set of guidelines ahead of the Holi festival. The advisory was issued 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. While the official from the Home Department refused to comment on the event, he said that the state government has taken a note of it and is reviewing the situation.
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 22, 2021
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.
According to the guidelines issued by the state government, any public functions or processions cannot be organized without prior permission. The official said that the organisers must take due permission from the district administration for this. Even after obtaining permission, the organizers will have to follow safety protocols like maintaining physical distancing, ensuring that people wear face masks and use hand sanitisers frequently among other preventive measures, as per the guidelines.
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.
When at public places, people are required to wear a face mask and follow social distancing to avoid transmission of the virus.
Those coming from states that have a high virus load will have to undergo COVID test, says the guidelines. It further said,
Dedicated COVID hospitals will continue to remain operational in every district and tracking, testing and treatment will be aggressively pursued.
COVID-19 help desks will be revived and equipped with infrared thermometer and pulse oximeter to monitor symptoms among people, the guidelines say. Contact tracing to be done at a higher pace so that all contacts of anybody who tests positive during festivals can be tracked within 48 hours.
The guidelines issued by the state government also said that all classes from 1 to 8 standards with remain suspended from March 24 to 31 for Holi. All other educational institutions, including schools between Classes 9 and 12, and higher education institutions where examinations are not scheduled, will be closed from March 25 to 31. All examinations of classes 1 to 8 scheduled between March 24 and 31, therefore, have also been postponed.
The official highlighted that people will be urged through the public address system and media to continue following safety protocols. The state government has formed teams of officials and volunteers to ensure the implementation of the guidelines. Apart from this, flouting the guidelines will slap the violators with fines starting from Rs. 500 under the Epidemic Diseases Act 2020, said the official.
The state of Uttar Pradesh currently has over 4,000 (4,388) active coronavirus cases, as per the Union Health Ministry. Over 8,000 (8,769) people have lost their lives due to the pandemic in the state, while over 5.9 lakh (5,96,286) have recovered from the disease.
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