Covid: All precautions must be taken during upcoming festivals, says UP CM

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday said all precautions must be taken during upcoming festivals in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also directed officials at a review meeting to “apply all precautions during the coming festival season”, according to an official statement.

“Awareness about Covid-19 should be spread through public address systems and surveillance committees should remain active,” the chief minister said at the meeting that was held to review the situation in the state due to the pandemic.

When asked to comment on reports that Durga Puja events will not be allowed this year, an Uttar Pradesh government official told PTI that no advisory has been issued so far.

“Public programmes, where there is a possibility of crowding, will not be permitted. There will be puja,” he said without elaborating, but added that an advisory on ‘dos and don’ts’ will be issued.

On whether Ramlila will be allowed, the official said, “Conditional permission will be given so that there is no crowding. For example, in the Ramlila that will be held in Ayodhya, organisers have been told to do live telecast and digital broadcasting.” Meanwhile, an office bearer of the Vyapari Kalyan Board of Gorakhpur, Pushpdant Jain, on Monday claimed that there will be no public programmes, and no Durga Puja and Diwali celebrations this year.

However, Ramlila will be allowed with social distancing and in adherence with other Covid-19 protocols, he told PTI, a day after the meeting chief minister.

“On Sunday, I met chief minister Yogi Adityanath regarding celebrations during Durga Puja and Diwali. Keeping the Covid-19 pandemic in view, he clearly said that there will be no public celebration during the festive season. However, people could celebrate inside their homes,” Jain claimed.

“Ramlila will be allowed with social distancing. The chief minister told me that with a maximum of 100 persons gathering, following social distancing and (other) Covid-19 protocols, Ramlila is allowed,” he claimed.

Ramlila is held on big grounds and social distancing can be easily followed there, the vice-president of the Vyapari Kalyan Board said.

“There is restriction on pandals and big idols. However, small idols that can be carried in cars, autos, etc are allowed. Processions will not be allowed,” Jain claimed.

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