The threat of a third wave and rising COVID-19 cases in certain parts of Maharashtra have forced Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to cancel all gatherings, including religious ones on the eve of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, which is customarily celebrated with much fervour in the state.
The CM said on Monday (September 6) that the health of the citizens was a priority and celebrations could be held later as well, said media reports. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have given the nod for celebrating the Ganesha festival on a limited scale.
While the DMK government has allowed devotees to leave Ganesha idols outside small temples with the state taking responsibility to immerse the idols in water bodies, in Karnataka, the celebrations have been restricted to three days and festive activities will have to be wrapped up by 9 pm on those days.
In Maharashtra, however, the chief minister along with several other cabinet ministers viewed the upcoming festival days as “crucial and challenging”, said a News18 report. “We can celebrate festivals later. Let us prioritise the lives and health of our citizens. The situation can go out of hand in view of the spike in daily cases,” Thackeray said in a statement on Monday after participating in a Disaster Management Meet.
Thackeray, who warned that the “third wave of COVID-19 is at our doorsteps”, also asked that who would like to impose restrictions on festivals and religious programmes? “But people’s lives are important,” he said.
The CM has cancelled all social, religious, and political gatherings and meetings. However, he urged everyone to wear masks, practice social distancing and avoid gatherings. They would then not have to impose any fresh restrictions to be imposed.
“One has to be prepared for the third wave as we saw how the entire country had to suffer during the second wave, largely due to less supply of oxygen,” Thackeray said, adding that the onus lay on political parties to ensure things do not go out of control, he said.
Moreover Kerala was witnessing of spike of 30,000 cases daily. According to the CM, this was a danger signal and if they failed to take it seriously, Maharashtra will have to pay a heavy price.
Since the past few days, Mumbai has been reporting more than 400 new COVID-19 cases every day, as per official data. Moreover, the positivity rate in Maharashtra had increased from 2.41 per cent on August 28 to 2.69 per cent on September 3, said a report in Hindustan Tiems.