COVID-19 | Ram Nath Kovind, Narendra Modi to avoid Holi gatherings

Amit Shah’s rally likely to be put off; govt. dealing with the situation proactively, says Javadekar

Updated - March 04, 2020 11:30 pm IST

Published - March 04, 2020 11:00 pm IST - NEW DELHI

President Ram Nath Kovind with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. File photo

President Ram Nath Kovind with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. File photo

India currently has only 28 known cases of COVID-19 , but the political class has taken the pandemic seriously. President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that they would not attend any gathering to mark Holi (March 10). Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s rally in Hyderabad, scheduled for March 15, is likely to be postponed.

Mr. Kovind wrote on Twitter: “With alertness and safeguards, we all can help contain the outbreak of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus . In a precautionary measure, the Rashtrapati Bhavan will not hold the traditional Holi gatherings.”

The tweet followed Mr. Modi’s own, declaring his intention to keep away from Holi events.

“Experts across the world have advised to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus . Hence, this year I have decided not to participate in any Holi Milan programme,” he said. BJP president J.P. Nadda also said that he would not celebrate Holi or hold any Holi Milan function.

Mr. Shah has reportedly postponed his rally in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act because of the outbreak of the disease.

‘6 lakh people screened’

Meanwhile, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said over six lakh people had been screened for COVID-19 at 21 airports, and asserted that the government was dealing with the situation proactively.

While the virology institute in Pune was fit for conducting tests for coronavirus, the government has now set up 15 more labs and is in the process of establishing 19 additional centres, he said.

However, it was Lok Sabha member (Independent) from Amravati Navneet Rana, who brought the disease into focus in Parliament. She attended the session on Wednesday by wearing a mask, pointing out that Parliament is a crowded area. She said she had purchased the mask for ₹125 and the price should be lowered for the benefit of the people. She also demanded that MPs be screened since the disease had hit Delhi.

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