Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Tuesday urged people to follow COVID-19 guidelines while celebrating Ganesh Utsav this year. He also warned that the number of COVID-19 patients increased in Kerala as a result of festival celebrations.
"During Ganeshotsav celebrations, everyone should follow COVID-19 guidelines issued by the government. The gathering of crowds leads to an increase in the possibility of the spread of infection. This has been seen in other states," news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
"The number of patients has increased in Kerala due to the crowds during the Onam festival. In Maharashtra, there are 4 to 5 districts including Pune where the number of COVID patients is high," he said.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope recently assured people that lockdown would not be imposed in Maharashtra in coming days.
"There is no possibility of fresh lockdown in the near future. I appeal people to avoid crowding while celebrating the Ganesh festival. The celebration should be simple," he told reporters.
"The government has been issuing various guidelines and they should be followed all the time," he added.
Meanwhile, Expressing concerns over people letting their guard down against COVID-19 in rural areas, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday urged citizens not to put the state government in a position where it has to shut everything in the event of a third wave of the pandemic.
Speaking to reporters in Pune, Pawar said the Centre has already cautioned all the states, citing that Kerala and Maharashtra have been reporting the highest number of cases.
"Unfortunately, in rural areas, some people are becoming lax. They are not scared of coronavirus. They don't use masks, don't follow physical distancing, and they have assumed that everything (COVID-19 pandemic) is over. This has led to rise in infections," Pawar said.
The chief minister has appealed to people from time to time, but some people politicise the issue and resort to celebrating festivals, he said.
"All this should stop somewhere. People should not put the state government and administrations in a position where they have to close everything if the third wave hits," he appealed.