Covid-19: Rising cases dampen festive spirit in Maharashtra

Following a subdued Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in Maharashtra, the Navratri celebrations are also expected to be low key as the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise in the state. Navratri organisers HT spoke to said that while they are waiting for the state government to issue guidelines, they are sure of not celebrating the festival this year. The nine-day festival begins from October 17.

“Navratri is largely about garba and dandiya which is impossible with social distancing norms. So it is pretty clear that there will be no celebrations this year,” said Neil Somiaya, BJP corporator from Mulund, who has been organising Navrarti fest at Mulund East since the last few years.

Pravin Chheda, who has been organising dandiya nights since 25 years in Ghatkopar said, “Even Ganesh Chaturthi was not celebrated the way it used to be. How can Navratri be celebrated without social gathering? The state might only allow societies to maybe do puja within the buildings.”

Also read: India crosses 60 million mark for Covid-19 testing

HT had reported that officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are also fearing a spike in cases with the festivals lined-up — Navratri, Diwali, Christmas and New Years’. Mumbai had witnessed a plateauing of cases in August. However, the Ganesh festival, relaxations during Mission Begin Again and increased testing are widely believed to be behind the resurgence of cases in the city.

The average daily Covid-19 cases shot up after Ganesh Chaturthi from nearly a 1,000 cases in August to 1,800+ cases in the first week of September.

Some organisers, however, are considering ‘virtual Navratri’ to keep up the festival spirit. Jignesh Khilani, secretary of Ghatkopar Gujarati Samaj, which also hosted Falguni Phatak in 2017, said, “We are thinking on the lines of arranging virtual Navratri. We are waiting for the state’s guidelines on it.”

On Wednesday again, the state surpassed another milestone of 1.1 million Covid-19 cases with 23,365 new cases recorded. The state’s tally now stands at 1,121,221 cases. The same day, Mumbai recorded its highest single-day spike of 2,378 new Covid cases pushing its overall tally ro 175,974 cases.

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