AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat government on Wednesday issued a notification banning public celebration of Holi and said the ritual of "Holika Dahan" can be observed in small gatherings amid the COVID-19 situation in the state.
As per the notification issued by the home department, public celebrations and mass functions cannot be allowed on the day of Dhuleti on March 29 due to the prevailing pandemic.
On the eve of Holi, the traditional "Holika Dahan" is organised, in which pyre is lit, symbolising the victory of good over evil.
Pyres can be lit traditionally and ritualistic circumambulation will be allowed, but only a limited number of people will be permitted to participate, the notification stated.
Organisers will have to ensure that large crowds don't not gather during "Holika Dahan" and people strictly follow the COVID-19 guidelines, it said.
People usually gather in large numbers in housing societies, public places, open grounds and roads to celebrate Holi, but cannot be allowed now as there is a possibility of the viral spread, the state government said.
The state recorded 1,790 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, its highest one-day rise since the pandemic began, the state health department said.
It took the caseload to 2,92,169, while eight deaths pushed the toll to 4,466, it said.
Two deaths each were reported in Ahmedabad and Surat and one each in Gandhinagar, Jamnagar, Rajkot and Vadodara.
With 1,277 patients getting discharged, the number of recovered cases rose to 2,78,880.
The state's recovery rate now stands at 95.45 per cent.
There are 8,823 active patients, 79 of them on ventilators.
While the number of cases has surged, symptoms in most cases are mild which is reflected by relatively less consumption of medical oxygen, the health department noted.
From 241 cubic ton oxygen being consumed in hospitals during November, currently 91 cubic ton is being consumed per day, it said.
Surat district reported the highest 582 coronavirus cases during the day, followed by Ahmedabad with 514 cases, Vadodara 165, Rajkot 164, Gandhinagar 39, Bhavnagar 38, Jamnagar 35, Kheda and Patan 19 each, Mehsana and Narmada 17 each, Dahod 16, Banaskantha and Kutch 15 each, Amreli 14 and Bharuch 13.
The health department has increased the number of `Dhanvantri Raths' or mobile vans providing essential healthcare to 958 from 775, it said.
These vans have served 3.5 crore people in the state so far, it said.
A total of 42,94,599 persons have been inoculated for coronavirus so far -- 36,77,467 have received the first dose and 6,17,132 the second dose.
Vaccination for all thoseabove 45 years -- whether they have comorbidity or not -- will start from April 1.
The Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu reported 11 new COVID-19 cases, increasing its tally to 3,477.
With five patients getting discharged, the number of recovered patients rose to 3,409, with 66 active cases.
Two deaths have been reported in the UT so far, officials said.
Gujarat's COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases 2,92,169, new cases 1,790, death toll 4,466, discharged 2,78,880, active cases 8,823, people tested so far - figures not released.