BENGALURU: With the third wave of Covid knocking on Karnataka’s doors, a host of festivals, like Muharram, Ganesh Chaturthi, Dasara, Deepavali, Christmas and a number of small temple and village festivities, lined up till the year-end have become a cause of concern. Health experts warned that no large-scale celebrations of these festivities should be allowed to avoid a repeat of second wave of the pandemic.
Dr CN Manjunath, member of state Covid Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and director of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, warned that these festivals could become potential superspreader events if a large number of people are allowed to celebrate together.
“We must restrict celebrations to rituals at temples and other places. It is the responsibility of deputy commissioners to monitor these festivities. Imposing restrictions on the number of people allowed to attend such festivals will not work, as crowds will definitely violate the norms,” he said.
Village festivals, especially in North Karnataka, should be avoided as 10-15 villages come together to celebrate with over 4,000-5,000 people in attendance. “Even social and political gatherings should be curtailed,” he added.
Dr MK Sudarshan, chairman of TAC, said that the committee has recommended stricter measures in districts with more than a 2 per cent positivity rate. “We cannot allow festivals, fairs, darshans, pujas and public congregations of any sort. People can celebrate within their homes,” he said.
People should be alert as neighbouring states are witnessing a rise in Covid cases and it is only a matter of time before the third wave percolates into Karnataka, said Dr H Sudarshan Ballal, member of Covid-19 expert committee and chairman, Manipal Health Enterprises.
“Karnataka, however, has a good vaccination coverage and 70 per cent sero-prevalence rate. Hopefully, the third wave will be limited. Apart from banning gatherings, festivals and rallies, Covid-appropriate behaviour has to be followed,” he added.
Already, Dakshina Kannada district has banned public gatherings till August 10, along with a one-week suspension of interstate bus services to Kasargod in Kerala.