- Lack of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour major reason behind surge: Experts
- Experts and doctors are cautioning people against celebrating Holi
- Rising number of cases should act as a warning: Experts
New Delhi: Holi, the festival of spring, colours and love, signifies the triumph of good over evil. The festival which is celebrated with friends and family, getting together enjoying with colours, food and laughter, has an uncertain year this time due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While the daily COVID-19 cases had reduced to as low as 8,000 in February, in the month of March, cases have again rose to almost 50,000 in 24 hours. According to public health experts, lack of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour by the people is the major reason behind this surge. Celebrating festivals, especially one like holi which is usually celebrated with social gatherings and community meetings, in such a situation can only make matters worse.
Healthcare experts and doctors are cautioning people against celebrating Holi without caring about the coronavirus. Many states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka have restricted holi celebrations in public gatherings.
Dr Samit Agarwal, from Prestige Hospital, Indore, says that the rising number of cases should act as a warning that people should take utmost precautions, particularly during holi. He said,
Usually on holi, there are large gatherings where people come together and play colours. But this year, such an event could be a super spreading event, staying at home is encouraged. Playing Holi involves close physical contact but we need to follow protocols of 6-feet physical distance. In public gatherings, people tend to take off their masks and out of courtesy flout the physical distancing norms.
Dr Vishal Kumar, from Noida COVID-19 Hospital, says that even visiting each other could be dangerous. He said that any laxity to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols could lead to a spiralling increase in new infections and hence a lockdown should be imposed before matters get worse.
The entire holi weekend should be monitored closely and if authorities decide to impose a lockdown from Friday night to Monday night, it would be really helpful to control the situation. These are the dire times, where health should take the front seat and everything else can wait.
Individual states have imposed restrictions citing that the festival could become a super-spreader event if people flout rules amid celebrations.
Significantly, for holi, thousands of people, particularly migrant workers, return home from states like Maharashtra, Delhi, etc which are also experiencing a surge in the cases. This could further lead to the spread in infection, Dr Kumar says.
With such a health crisis, Holi can be memorable with family members at home too, just like most people said quarantine was. You can cook holi snacks together, play board games. It’s not always necessary to go to large gatherings, try doing something different than usual which can also be memorable for a lifetime.
He suggested that people should stay indoors and use technology to wish their near and dear ones to avoid spreading infection.
At this time when people are out and about with their businesses, anyone can be a carrier of the coronavirus. It could be you or the person you are visiting, so it’s best to avoid visits. An isolated Holi, full of video calls, could be your safest bet this year, Dr Kumar said.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.