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Coronavirus scare takes sheen off Holi celebrations in Hyderabad

While some venues chose to cancel Holi events completely, the Secunderabad Cantonment Board and several resident welfare associations issued advisories to citizens.

Published: 10th March 2020 10:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th March 2020 05:44 PM   |  A+A-

People wearing masks throw colour at each other during Holi at Necklace Road

People wearing masks throw colour at each other during Holi at Necklace Road on Monday. (Photo| S Senbagapandiyan, EPS)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Coronavirus scare has thrown a wet blanket on Holi this year. Though it’s a time for families and their relatives to celebrate the occasion, the spirit of the festival was missing this time around.
In ward 5 of Secunderabad Cantonment where the first positive case of Coronavirus was reported just a few days ago, there was no splash of colour, nor any merry-making.

While some venues chose to cancel Holi events completely, the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) and several resident welfare associations issued advisories to citizens stating that they should avoid gatherings to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

At Mahendra Hills, which is in ward 5, this year’s Holi was tepid. At a time when people’s faces were supposed to be covered in colours, most were covered in masks. With very few people on roads and most doors and windows closed, the area resembled a ghost town.

A resident who lives in an adjacent building where the 24-year-old techie, who was detected with COVID-19, lived, said: "Many of the residents who left their houses soon after the news broke have not come back yet. As people were worried over the virus spreading, many did not come out of their houses to celebrate Holi."

"Every year, there are multiple Holi events at most of the colonies that see mass gatherings. But this year, we had issued advisories to people in advance urging them not to organise public gatherings. Many took precautionary measures and avoided public gatherings in Secunderabad Cantonment," said J Rama Krishna, vice-president of Secunderabad Cantonment.

The owners of sweetmeat shops and those who sell colours and other Holi paraphernalia in the city claimed that the business was hit this year. The same was the case with many event management companies, pubs and restaurants as many of them had to cancel their Holi parties due to Coronavirus.

"We usually do multiple events for restaurants around Kondapur and Gachibowli. For instance, one of our coveted parties used to happen at Fisherman’s Wharf at Gachibowli and that was cancelled after guests dropped out. So, close to 40 per cent of the events in pubs, clubs, and restaurants were cancelled," said Rohan Raj, a freelancer with ES Events in city.

Mansi Patel, a resident of AS Rao Nagar at Sanikpuri, said on Monday morning, "Instead of heading to a crowded Holi party at places like Country Club, we are planning to head to a small resort with a small, known group of friends, and enjoy a safe, virus-free Holi."



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