Chennai: As part of a stringent measure to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and to safeguard from possible third wave, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday announced the extension of the existing ban on festivals, political, social and religious gatherings in the state till October 31.
Insisting that the occasion calls for stricter protocols, he said events like festivals, political, religious and social events could turn into "super spreaders." Tamil Nadu on August 30 had announced the closure of beaches on Sundays for the public apart from extending the ban on religious places of worship on weekends and also holding religious festivals due to the COVID-19 pandemic till September 15.
Apart from Ganesh Chaturthi on Friday, October ushers in a string of events like Gandhi Jayanthi, Dussehra celebrations, Milad un-Nabi, Valmiki jayanthi and Karva Chauth.
The Chief Minister urged the people to celebrate festivals from the safety of their homes and adviced to avoid crowded places and needless travel.
Pointing to the developments in neighboring Kerala which is battling COVID-19 and Nipah virus outbreak, Stalin said the State government has banned the celebration of religious festivals in public places including Vinayaka Chaturthi in an attempt to contain the spread of the Coronavirus in the State. Public transport to Kerala has been suspended owing to the increase in fresh infections in that State, he said in a release here.
"The present measure is being taken as per the Centre's advisory on possible third wave in September-October," the chief minister said and added that due to the rigorous efforts of the state government, the active cases declined to about 1,600 now from nearly 36,000. on May 27.
Relaxation has been given to garland the statues of freedom fighters by the district collectors with strict social distancing norms in place. Five members from the family of the freedom fighters and five from registered parties would be allowed to garland the statues with permission from the collectors concerned, the Chief Minister said.