CM Uddhav Thackeray
CM Uddhav Thackeray

Mumbai: Ahead of Diwali, being celebrated this year from November 13-16, in the shadow of the pandemic, the Maharashtra government on Friday issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the containment of Covid-19. The Maha Vikas Aghadi government has urged citizens to avoid bursting crackers and thereby curb noise and air pollution, which could pose problems for coronavirus patients.

The government has appealed for a subdued celebration of Diwali, just as other festivals have been, since the virus outbreak. Social distancing norms, masks and sanitisers have to be used by people who step outside their homes and crowding in public places must be avoided.

The home department has suggested, as temples have not been opened yet, people are advised to worship at homes. They have also advised a simple celebration and avoid rushing to public places.

The state government guidelines said: "Those affected by COVID-19 are likely to be troubled directly due to the air pollution caused by bursting of firecrackers. Considering this, people should avoid bursting firecrackers this year. Instead, they can light lamps on a large scale to celebrate."

Senior citizens and children, in particular, should avoid stepping out of home during the festival period, the state government said. Events should be organised through online platforms, as opposed to physical gatherings or public programmes like early morning musical concerts or processions, the government has said. Instead of cultural programmes, priority should be given to health initiatives and awareness campaigns, it said. The government has asked people to organise blood donation and cleanliness campaigns instead.

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Free Press Journal