The outbreak of the highly contagious Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 has not only led to widespread preventive measures in the country but also political leaders calling off celebration plans of the spring festival of Holi.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today tweeted he will "not participate in any programme involving Holi keeping in mind the opinion of experts to deal with the danger of Coronavirus".
Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted saying he too will not participate in Holi celebrations.
"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," PM Modi had tweeted.
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.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 4, 2020
At least 43 cases have been confirmed in India with six active cases in Kerala. As many as 52 laboratories are operational across the country for testing the COVID-19, the Health Ministry has said. An additional 57 laboratories have been provided with viral transport media and swabs for sample collection, it added.
Earlier last week, in a press conference, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too had said he would not celebrate Holi the in wake of violence over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA that struck northeast Delhi, leaving 53 dead and hundreds injured.
The fear of coronavirus has not just gripped people but also the financial markets. With Holi tomorrow, a significant dip in sales was seen in parts of Punjab with few customers visiting shops as most props used during Holi like the water gun (pichkari) are usually made in China.
Panic buying of hand sanitizer has been reported from across the country, with many sellers on etailers hiking the price much above their maximum retail price. This has led people on Twitter to complain to the Consumer Affairs Ministry.
The coronavirus was first detected at a seafood market in China's Wuhan, from where it spread quickly.