COVID protocols during Puja under East Khasi Hills district

With a view to prevent spread of COVID-19 especially during Durga Puja, the East Khasi Hills district administration in a press release issued ton Monday has advised persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years to stay home and not to visit public places or puja pandals during the festival. It also prohibits spitting in public places.

It said that individuals must maintain physical distance in public places. Individuals must use face masks mandatorily at all times. While taking part in all puja festivities, they must practice frequent hand washing with soap for at least 40-60 seconds even when hands are not visibly dirty or use alcohol-based sanitizers for at least 20 seconds. It also instructed people to strictly follow respiratory etiquettes while taking part in all puja festivities which involves strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing, sneezing with a tissue, handkerchief, flexed elbow and to dispose of used tissues properly and they must self-monitor one’s health and report any illness, symptoms at the earliest to district helpline or the nearest medical officer.

The puja   committees,   volunteers   will   be appropriately  stationed  at  all  puja  pandals  to  ensure  physical  distancing  and wearing of masks and all individuals are to strictly co-operate and follow the arrangements in all puja pandals accordingly.

Immersion of idols is strictly prohibited in water bodies other than the designated immersion ghats and only 15 members will be allowed to accompany the idols to the immersion ghat while 5 persons only is allowed to enter into the immersion ghat for puja rituals and onlookers, bystanders are not allowed during immersion.

People are advised to restrict inter-locality movement as far as possible and not to venture out of their localities to prevent overcrowding.

Persons who are COVID-positive and high-risk contacts are not allowed to visit puja pandals or venture out during this time and legal action will be taken against violators as per the relevant laws.

The administration also said that people  must  avoid  overcrowding  in  market  areas,  and  limit  the  time  spent  in shopping malls and other places. Fines and penalties will be levied on shops, members of the public found to be in violation of health protocols. Everyone must download and use Aarogya Setu and Behavioral Change Management App.

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