With coronavirus outbreak setting off alarm bells across the globe, it is imperative that we forego the joys of indulging ourselves in the festival of colours this year
Every year during Holi, our ears are hollowed with the uber popular seasonal song, Do Me a Favour, Let’s Play Holi, while walking down the streets with festive loudspeakers and microphones galore.
This year however, it would be a figurative crime if the word ‘let’s’ is not substituted with the word ‘Don't’ during the the festival of colours.
With the coronavirus outbreak setting off alarm bells across the globe, including the country, with as many as 47 people reportedly testing positive for the deadly virus as of March 9 with numerous states monitoring countless others, it is imperative that we as nation choose to forego the joys of indulging ourselves in the mass participatory festival of ‘Holi’ this year. Experts around the world have already advised people to reduce mass gatherings in order to avoid the spread of novel coronavirus.
If one superfluously adds water, runny noses, chemical colours and excessive direct human contact to the mass gatherings, which in themselves spell enough trouble, which is what Holi does, then the risk of contacting the virus and putting oneself in harm’s way exponentially increases.
Even the key mega event of the year, the Tokyo Olympics 2020, is being considered for postponement due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, which according to WHO, has now spread to more than 60 countries, infecting more than 90,000 and taking the lives of over 3,000.
An advisory or a public service announcement needs to be issued nationwide by the authorities concerned to keep the virus from engulfing the nation as it would only require one single undetected individual to compromise an entire mass gathering and consequently cause pandemonium on the streets.
Specifically, it should be incumbent upon the state government of Assam to disseminate an immediate advisory as media reports have revealed that the state is in fact not removed from the dangers of the novel coronavirus, as an astounding number of 55 individuals from the state, who had travelled in and outside of the country in the months following the outbreak of COVID-19, are suspected to have been compromised and as a result, have been put under quarantine. Hence, it is of cardinal importance that an advisory be issued or the people may very well be led to the festivities like sheep to a slaughter.
(Gaurav Agarwal is a MassCom student at Royal Global University, Guwahati, Assam. Views expressed are personal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)