To help the city fight the Covid-19 pandemic, Ganesh mandals in Mumbai have formed a task force of 400 volunteers who will undertake various awareness drives during the 10-day festival which starts from August 22.
The Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti, an umbrella body of 12,500 Ganesh mandals across Mumbai, said that the mandals will ensure online darshan, social distancing within pandals and will also conduct drives to promote yoga and pranayam among youngsters.
Naresh Dahibhavkar, president of the samanvay samiti said, “The volunteers will ease the workload of the police and civic officials by ensuring that social distancing measures are followed in pandals. These volunteers, in the age group of 28-35, will also create awareness in their areas on the various precautions to be taken.”
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The state government is wary of a spike in coronavirus cases if people crowd places during Ganeshotsav. Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has also asked authorities to be “extra cautious” during the festival. Thackeray held a meeting with district officials on Tuesday and directed them to ensure that overcrowding is avoided during the festival.
On Wednesday, Maharashtra recorded its highest single-day spike with 13,165 cases of Covid-19 taking the tally to 628,642.
The state also recorded 346 deaths after which the toll stands at 21,003 till date. Mumbai recorded 1,132 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday and 46 fatalities.
State officials expect the daily caseload to increase with an increase in the number of tests. As per state department data, 73,464 samples were tested on Wednesday for Covid-19. Earlier this week, state health minister Rajesh Tope said that a downward trend could be seen after mid-September.
“Maharashtra is in the middle of a peak of Covid-19 cases. However, it’s difficult to predict how long it will last. The pandemic situation is under control in Malegaon, Mumbai’s Dharavi slums, and Aurangabad. In most places, the spread appears to have plateaued. Now, a downward trend is expected after the middle of September,” Tope told media on Tuesday.