India’s peak holiday season set to send Covid-19 cases surging
BENGALURU/KOLKATA: Already on track to overtake the United States with the world's most coronavirus infections, India is bracing for a surge as it heads into its main holiday season with an economy freed of virus restrictions.
The recent experience of the southern state of Kerala stands as a warning of what might happen.
Reported infections there have jumped fivefold since it celebrated the 10-day harvest festival of Onam in late August.
Still, state governments are reluctant to stop people from venturing out during the money-spinning Hindu festivals of Durga Puja next week and Deepavali next month.
The holidays are celebrated with family gatherings, with the buying and giving of gifts generating vital income for many people.
"We will probably have more deaths out of starvation if the rural migratory population who flock to cities during the pujas and earn some money during the festivity are deprived of the opportunity," said West Bengal Cabinet Minister Subrata Mukherjee. - REUTERS