India’s Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan urged people to celebrate upcoming festivals from home as the country topped 7 million confirmed Covid-19 cases.
In a social media briefing on Sunday, Vardhan warned people to stay away from large congregations and diligently follow the guidelines issued by the government regarding precautions to be taken.
"There is no need to congregate in large numbers to prove your faith or your religion. If we do this, we may be heading for big trouble. Lord Krishna says concentrate on your goal… my goal and your goal… our goal is to finish this virus and save humanity. This is our religion. The religion of the whole world," the health minister said.
Vardhan's comments come ahead of the Hindu festive period beginning with Navaratri, or “nine nights,” on October 17. Also known as Durja Puja, it ends with Dussehra on the tenth day. The celebrations coincide with the harvest season and culminate with Diwali, the five-day festival of lights celebrating the triumph of good over evil, on November 14.
Vardhan warned of the possibility for increased Covid-19 transmission during the approaching winter months. “These viruses are known to thrive better in the cold weather and low humidity conditions. In view of these, it would not be wrong to assume that the winter season may see increased rates of transmission of the novel coronavirus in the Indian context too,” he said.
Vardhan also called on citizens to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationwide awareness campaign, “Jan Andolan,” (mass movement) promoting mask-wearing and social distancing.
New cases: India reported 66,732 new infections Monday, bringing its total to 7,120,538. The Health Ministry also reported 816 new fatalities from the virus, raising the official death toll to 109,150.