Health Minister Harsh Vardhan urges people to follow COVID-19 norms ahead of festive season


New Delhi: Just ahead of the upcoming festival season in mind, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday (October 11, 2020) urged citizens to unite in the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus disease and asserted that fighting COVID-19 is out foremost ‘dharma’.

During his interaction with people on the fifth episode of Sunday Samvaad on the ministers social media page, he directed that this is a ‘new normal for festivals’. 

“No religion or God says that you have to celebrate a festival in an ostentatious way. Fighting against COVID-19 is our foremost dharma,” the Health Minister said this afternoon.

“If we falter in following COVID-19 guidelines during the festivals then coronavirus can again assume a dangerous shape and become big trouble for us. This is the truth, in any religion, no dharmic leader will say that people`s lives should be put at risk to celebrate festivals. No God has said that one needs to go to puja pandals to worship,” the Minister said.

He warned people to stay away from large congregations and diligently follow the guidelines issued by the government regarding precautions to be taken, Dr. Harsh Vardhan requested people to celebrate upcoming festivals at home, with their loved ones, instead of going out to fairs and pandals.

“Shouldn’t karma take precedence over Dharma? Should lives be risked while celebrating festivals?” Dr Harsh Vardhan asked as he reminded people about the government-mandated social distancing norms to check the spread of infection.

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Dr Harsh Vardhan shared the possibility of increased COVID-19 transmission during winters as it is a respiratory virus and the transmission of such pathogens is known to increase during the colder weather.

“These viruses are known to thrive better in the cold weather and low humidity conditions. In view of these, it would not be wrong to assume that the winter season may see increased rates of transmission of the novel coronavirus in the Indian context too,” he noted. 

With a spike of 74,383 new cases and 918 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, India crossed 70 lakh coronavirus cases while 60 lakh people have recovered and over 1 lakh have succumbed to the disease so far. India is the second worst-hit country in the world.

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