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Updated on: Thursday, October 07, 2021, 05:43 PM IST

'Celebrate Durga Pooja and Ram Leela virtually': Health Ministry issues COVID-19 warning ahead of festival season

Devotees arrive to offer prayers at Bada Hanuman Mandir on the first day of Navratri festival, in Amritsar on Thursday.  | ANI

Devotees arrive to offer prayers at Bada Hanuman Mandir on the first day of Navratri festival, in Amritsar on Thursday. | ANI

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As Navratri begins today, the Union Health Ministry on Thursday in the wake of the 10-day festival and other upcoming festivals issued a warning asking people to be cautious from October to December and celebrate festivals in a way that we do not spread COVID-19.

Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal during press briefing said, "Attend Durga Pooja and Ram Leela virtually. Meet your loved ones online on Diwali." Today is the first day of the nine-day Navratri festival, marking the beginning of the festival season for Hindus across India.

Asserting repeatedly that the second wave of the pandemic is not over, the government said that though the situation is plateauing, the country is still reporting as high as 20,000-odd new infections every day.

"We cannot take the current stable situation for granted. We have to be mindful of the fact that the pandemic is going on and can take an untoward turn if we are not careful," Agarwal said.

Warning people about the threat of COVID-19 resurgence during the coming festival and wedding season, Health Ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal said, "Please watch your October, November, December." He advised people to avoid crowded places and unnecessary travel and to stay home, celebrate festivals virtually and explore online modes of shopping.

The government said that Kerala recorded 50 per cent of the total coronavirus cases in the country last week. Kerala has over over lakh active cases currently and the figure in four other states is ranging between 10,000 and 50,000.

It said five states -- Mizoram, Kerala, Sikkim, Manipur and Meghalaya -- are reporting a weekly positivity rate of over five per cent. While, thirty-four districts across nine states and union territories are reporting a weekly positivity rate of more than 10 per cent, according to the government.

Twenty-eight districts across 12 states and UTs are reporting a weekly positivity rate between 5 and 10 per cent.

On grounds of vaccination, the government said 71 per cent of India's adult population have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 27 per cent have got both doses.

With 22,431 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,38,94,312, according to the Union Health Ministry's data updated on Thursday. The death toll climbed to 4,49,856 with 318 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.

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Published on: Thursday, October 07, 2021, 05:43 PM IST
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