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Bengal government issues advisory on celebrating Holi

Stating that the pandemic was not yet over, the notification asked people to celebrate the festivals preferably within one’s family
People buy colours and other items ahead of Holi from a shop at Satyanarayan Park on Thursday.
People buy colours and other items ahead of Holi from a shop at Satyanarayan Park on Thursday.
Pradip Sanyal

Subhajoy Roy   |   Calcutta   |   Published 27.03.21, 01:45 AM

The state health department has issued an advisory requesting people to avoid crowding during Dol and Holi.

The advisory, issued on Friday, asked people to celebrate the festivals, which fall on Sunday and Monday, respectively, preferably within one’s family. It said the Covid-19 pandemic was not yet over. Since the virus has undergone mutations, the number of infections could rapidly rise any time.


Some states in India are already reporting a very high number of cases, the advisory stated.

An official of the state health department said the advisory was issued to prevent a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases after the festivals. The advisory said:

  • It would be wise to not hold any procession or gathering
  • People should restrain themselves from going very close to someone to smear them with colour or abir
  • Try to stay away from crowded places
  • The elderly, children, pregnant women and sick persons should be kept away from any crowd
  • Do not step out without wearing a mask
  • Wash hands with soap or use hand sanitisers repeatedly
  • Religious places must have adequate hand washing and sanitising facilities
  • Entry should be restricted and there should be adequate number of volunteers to ensure everyone follows norms
  • No one should be allowed to stay inside a temple for long and indoor space must have air circulation
  • Waiting area for devotees must be an open area
  • Cultural and religious programmes could be done in a restricted fashion and streamed online.

The bulletin published by the state health department showed that 646 new cases were reported from the city on Thursday, 239 of them from Calcutta.

About a month back, the numbers were far less. The number of cases reported from across the state on February 28 was 198, The city’s tally that day was 62.

Several doctors said the number would certainly rise as people were walking close to one another in election rallies and talking without wearing a mask. If people celebrate Dol and Holi like other years, the situation could go beyond control, they said.

Abhijit Chowdhury, a public health expert, said it was best if people celebrated the festival of colours in their mind this year. “Remember that the cases did not rise after Durga Puja last year as we behaved responsibly,” he said.

Even if one goes out wearing a mask, there is always a possibility of the mask getting wet. “During Dol and Holi, we splash colour on each other. There is always a threat that the mask will get wet. A mask loses its efficiency when it gets wet...,” he said.

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