Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday cautioned that prevention fatigue must be avoided as India enters the ninth month of the coronavirus pandemic and several festivals approach.
"People tire out when they have to constantly take precautions. Some of them also give up taking precautions for various reasons. My message to everyone is that we must all diligently take precautions," he said.
He also urged people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour during the festival season. “Each and every one of you to take ownership at your own levels: personal, society, RWA, colony, and office” he said.
The health minister said that state governments have the authority to decide on allowing puja pandals. "Maharashtra has issued an advisory for the Navratri festival under which no garba and dandiya mahotsavas will be held in the state. Gujarat has also prohibited the dance events this year," he said.
The West Bengal government has allowed celebration of Durga Puja, albeit with protocols for prevention of infection in place. Standard Operating Procedures have been issued that mandate limiting crowd capacity in each pandal, mask coverings, and open air ventilation wherever possible. Rituals such as pushpanjali, sindoor khela and distribution of prasad should be organised in small groups with spaced out timings.
Durga Puja Committees have been instructed to follow the rules in letter and spirit even as there is growing anxiety about the festival season that may lead to a spike in infection.