Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has done a rethink on the promised firecracker ban on Diwali and has now allowed "green" crackers. The state had banned firecrackers for Diwali yesterday in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and how the pollution surge after Diwali can affect the situation.
In a statement today, Mr Yediyurappa said following "suggestions" from people, "I appeal to the people to celebrate Deepavali in a simple way by using only green crackers".
The government has taken all necessary measures for the control of COVID-19, and in such a situation it was appropriate to celebrate Deepavali in a simple and meaningful way keeping in mind the health of citizens and children, Mr Yediyurappa said.
Several states, including Rajasthan, Odisha and Delhi, have already decided to ban firecrackers ahead of the big festival next week.
Coronavirus affects lungs and the surge in pollution that takes place with Diwali and the onset of winter is expected to lead to a spike in numbers.
The smoke can even affect people who have recovered from COVID-19 infection, said state health minister K Sudhakar, confirming the state government's earlier decision to ban crackers.
Karnataka currently has 8.41 lakh total cases of coronavirus -- the second highest in the country after Maharashtra. The state also saw 11,347 deaths from the highly infectious disease. But the daily surge in cases -- which stood at 2,960 over the last 24 hours, is far less than Delhi.
Delhi is already climbing the charts with a record 7,000-plus people testing positive over 24 hours ending last evening. At 7,178, it was the highest daily surge in the country.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said the national capital is witnessing its third peak.