On Tuesday, the Maharashtra government announced detailed guidelines for the celebration of the Navratri, Durga Puja and Dasara amid the novel coronavirus crisis. As per the state’s directive, these festivals will be celebrated in a simple manner. In a big change, no Garba or Dandiya event can be organised. It is mandatory for the administration and police to implement the rules for curbing the spread of COVID-19. Additional guidelines might be issued in the lead-up to the commencement of the aforesaid festivals. 

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Here are the guidelines:

  • Navratri mandals have to obtain requisite permission from the local authorities
  • The decoration of the Goddess’ idol should be done in a simple manner
  • The height of the idol for mandals and individuals will be restricted to 4 and 2 feet respectively
  • As far as possible, the idol should be environment-friendly and should be immersed at home. If this is not possible, the idol can be immersed in dedicated places
  • Only voluntary donation should be accepted. There should be an attempt to propagate health-related awareness such as the ‘My Family, My Responsibility’ scheme
  • Garba, Dandiya and other cultural functions to not be organised. Instead, priority should be given to organising health camps
  • In the case of Aarti, Bhajan or Kirtan, care should be taken to avoid crowding and observing noise pollution-related norms
  • Online darshan to be encouraged
  • Measures such as physical distancing, thermal scanning, etc. to be undertaken by the mandals. 
  • No procession will be permitted either for the arrival or immersion of the Goddess’ idol
  • Artificial ponds shall be created for immersion
  • The ritual of burning the effigy of Ravana will be restricted to a very small number of people. The audience shall not be invited to view the ceremony

Read: India’s COVID-19 Recoveries Highest In The World; Crosses 50 Lakh Mark: Health Ministry

A surge in COVID-19 cases

On Monday, September 28, Maharashtra recorded 11,921 new novel coronavirus cases, propelling the state’s COVID-19 tally to 13,51,153. At present, there are 2,65,033 active cases in the state. With 19,932 COVID-19 patients discharged in the day, the number of recovered soared to 10,49,947. 180 deaths were reported on Monday, marking a significant reduction in the number of fatalities as compared to September 27(380 deaths). 

Until now, a total of 35,751 persons have died owing to COVID-19. So far, 66,22,384 samples have tested for the novel coronavirus in labs operational across the state. While 19,75,923 persons are under home quarantine, 29,922 others have been admitted to institutional quarantine centres. The COVID-19 positivity rate, recovery rate, and fatality rate in Maharashtra stands at 20.4%, 77.71%, and 2.65% respectively. 

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