Almost half of the coronavirus cases reported in India on Tuesday came from five states that have local festivals, according to the Indian Ministry of Health.
The Hindu festival of Navaratri or “Nine Nights” took place from October 17th to 25th and culminated on day 10 – Dushera. The annual event marks the start of a new harvest season, followed by Diwali, the festival of lights on November 14th.
“Cases have occurred in Kerala, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi during the festival,” said Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, at a press conference Tuesday.
Reason for optimism? Despite the spike in cases across the five states, government-led Think member VK Paul said many people followed Covid-19 guidelines during Navaratri and were hopeful about an overall decline in infections over the past 24 hours.
“We saw the Indians listening to the prime minister and following guidelines during the festival season. This is a big deal,” Paul said.
Latest figures: On Tuesday, India reported 36,470 new cases in the past 24 hours, the lowest increase in a day since July 17.
The Home Office announced Tuesday that it would no longer impose restrictions while shopping malls, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, schools and other educational institutions remain open and social distancing guidelines remain in place.
As of Wednesday, India has reported a total of 7,990,322 Covid-19 cases, including 120,010 deaths.