South Africa’s President Ramaphosa begins Covid-19 self-quarantine

Sunil Kumar

Nearly half of the coronavirus cases reported in India on Tuesday were from five states where people had been celebrating local festivals, according to the Indian Health Ministry.

The Hindu festival Navaratri, or “Nine Nights,” took place from October 17-25, culminating in the 10th day — Dushera. The annual event marks the onset of a new harvest season and is followed by Diwali, the festival of lights, on November 14.

“During the festival, cases have risen in Kerala, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi,” Rajesh Bhushan, secretary to the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said at a news conference on Tuesday. 

Case for optimism? Despite the rise in cases in the five states, government-led think member VK Paul said that many people had followed Covid-19 guidelines during Navaratri, and given an overall fall in infections over the previous 24 hours, he was hopeful.

“We saw that during the festival season Indians listened to the Prime Minister and followed guidelines; this is a huge deal,” Paul said.

Latest numbers: On Tuesday, India reported 36,470 new cases in the previous 24 hours, the lowest single-day rise since July 17. 

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday announced that it would not reimpose restrictions, while malls, restaurants, gyms, movie theatres, schools and other educational institutions will remain open with guidelines for social distancing in place. 

As of Wednesday, India has reported a total of 7,990,322 Covid-19 cases, including 120,010 deaths.

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