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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Throwing weight behind the Odisha government’s decision to restrict the height of idols to four feet during the upcoming festivals, top health officials of the State on Tuesday urged people to avoid congregation during the festive season in order to keep the possible third wave of Covi-19 at bay.

“The height of the idols has no direct bearing on the surge in Covid-19. However, it has serious repercussions for the impending third wave of the pandemic,” said Director, Health Services, Bijay Mohapatra.

“The increase in the height of idols would mean the corresponding extravagance in decoration of the Puja pandals. It will attract more footfalls at the venue leading to congregation. This will result in creating conducive condition for the infection to spread,” said Mohapatra.

“To keep the rate of infection in check, the decision of capping idol height has been taken by the government. People should accept it as it is meant for their own health and safety,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Director, Public Health, Niranjan Mishra also cautioned people not to be complacent on Covid-19 precautions during Puja times.

“The infection has dipped in the State, but it is yet to be under total control. People shouldn’t risk their lives by moving in market places during festive times,” said Mishra.

Directorate of Medical Education and Training (DMET) Chief CBK Mohanty urged people to prioritise their health above celebrations.

“Health and life are too precious. We should have devotion for the Goddess in our minds, but we shouldn’t behave recklessly by doing rounds of markets during this crucial phase of the pandemic. It will risk the lives us and others as well,” said Mohanty.

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