Jamshedpur health department plans COVID preventive measures for Durga Puja in absence of official guidelines

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Jamshedpur, Sept. 30: Though the guidelines for the Durga Puja celebration is awaited from the State Government, the district health department has already started working on a strategy for preventive measures during the mega 10-day long festival.

With the threat of a second wave of COVID-19 in November looming large and cases rising every day, the department has focussed on conducting more tests and spreading awareness.

East Singhbhum district surveillance officer, Dr Sahir Pall said that the department has focussed on conducting more tests. The focus is on such areas where positive cases have been found.

Though the apex body of Durga Puja committees in the city, Jamshedpur Durga Puja Kendriya Samity (JDPKS) has plans to make the festival a low key affair, the department is in no mood to take risk and has started planning before to ensure safety of the people.

In view of the coronavirus pandemic, the organisers have decided to celebrate a toned down festival scheduled from October 22 to 26 this year but still the department will launch a drive to ensure people remain indoors.

 “ Though no guidelines have been issued by the State but we are in touch puja committees so ensure that no fairs are organised. We want people not to assemble in groups. They must wear masks and use sanitizers and follow social distancing norms,” said another official. He said that if this mega festival passes off safely, COVID-19 situation will be under control. 

He noted that as there are chances of further increase in COVID-19 cases due to public or religious gathering, the administration will only allow the Puja Committees to perform Durga Puja without decorations. At no cost, public congregations will be allowed at the puja pandals.

He went on to add that the administration has decided to test everyone in the district to prevent community spread of the disease. More tests would only help the administration to prevent further spread of the disease. He added it was the responsibility of the government as well as individuals to contain the spread of COVID19.

Moreover, the puja committees have been asked to follow COVID-19 norms. “ We are yet to take a call of the festival. However, we have been asked by Puja organisers to restrict the height of idols to 5 feet, while pandals will be simple and small. No melas will be allowed this year. We have been asked to ensure social distancing,” said an official of Jugsalai Durga Puja Committee.

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