Indian city holds biggest festival of the year amid Covid-19

The city of Mumbai, India, is about to enter the biggest festival of the year, despite the daily nCoV case more than doubling in less than a month.

Markets in Mumbai, the financial capital of India, are slowly bustling. Streets also become crowded as people prepare for the 11-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival, which begins September 10. This is one of the most important Hindu festivals, honoring the elephant-headed god Ganesha.

Crowded market in Mumbai, India, today as people shop for Ganesh Chaturthi festival.  Photo: AFP.

Crowded market in Mumbai, India, today as people shop for Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Photo: AFP.

Meanwhile, government data shows that the daily number of new nCoV infections in Mumbai has increased from 190 on August 16 to 530 on September 8. The city once recorded a record 11,000 nCoV infections a day during the catastrophic second wave of the pandemic in India, but then gradually successfully controlled the virus and recovered.

Most of the restrictions to prevent Covid-19 have been lifted in Mumbai. The trains also welcome fully vaccinated passengers. However, as the Ganesh Chaturthi festival approaches, authorities have imposed new rules on processions and restricted gatherings at certain locations near places of worship.

Before Covid-19 hit Mumbai, thousands of people used to fill the streets to send prayers in front of Ganesha statues that were placed everywhere. On the last day of the festival, the statues will be released into the sea. This year, city officials recommend that only 10 people, preferably fully vaccinated against Covid-19, perform the ritual to bring the statue to the sea.

“The third wave of the pandemic is not imminent, it is already present,” said Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar, urging people to stay at home to celebrate the festival.

Luster (Follow Reuters)

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