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India restricts religious festivals over new Covid surge fears

MUMBAI, Sept 8 — Indian authorities are proscribing main religious festivals that begin this week and entice large crowds, warning {that a} new Covid-19 wave had already begun within the monetary capital Mumbai.

State governments throughout the nation of 1.3 billion individuals, which noticed a devastating coronavirus surge in April-May, are clamping down on mass gatherings.

“The third wave will not be coming, it’s already right here,” Mumbai’s mayor Kishori Pednekar advised reporters yesterday.

“We can have fun festivals later. Let us first prioritise the lives and well being of our residents,” added Uddhav Thackeray, the chief minister of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital.

He was talking forward of the 11-day Hindu Ganesh Chaturthi competition, which begins Friday.

The final Covid-19 wave overwhelmed India’s hospitals and was identified to have killed greater than 200,000 individuals.

It struck after one of many world’s greatest religious gatherings, the Kumbh Mela, which attracted some 25 million Hindu pilgrims.

That gathering, massive state election rallies and the infectious Delta virus variant—first detected in India—had been blamed by specialists for fuelling the surge.

Authorities stated a current spike in circumstances within the southern state of Kerala after the Onam competition in August ought to be trigger for alarm.

But festive crowds have nonetheless packed markets in Maharashtra and different states in current days, ignoring the warnings.

The state authorities will restrict the peak of effigies of the elephant-headed god Ganesha to cut back the variety of devotees carrying them through the competition.

Processions on the competition’s first and final days might be banned.

Restrictions on actions and actions are anticipated to be launched this week as circumstances rise in one other main Maharashtra metropolis, Nagpur.

In the neighbouring state of Karnataka, an evening curfew will stay in place and districts posting greater constructive check ranges might be banned from holding Ganesh celebrations.

Karnataka well being minister, Okay. Sudhakar, advised eNM officers had been additionally involved the current resumption of highschool courses might improve circumstances.

Viti Kumar, a resident of Lucknow within the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, stated she feared individuals would let down their guards through the festivals.

“I can’t take probabilities with my daughter. I’m not sending her to high school,” she advised eNM.

The southern state of Tamil Nadu has banned public competition celebrations, whereas the japanese state of West Bengal was anticipated to impose curbs on the nine-day Durga Puja in October.

India has the world’s second-highest identified caseload, with greater than 33 million infections, and 441,000 deaths. — eNM

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