COVID-19 committee suggests virtual Dasara fete this year


Not more than 200 persons for inauguration of festivities atop Chamundi Hills on October 17, and only 300 persons for Jamboo Savari on October 26 at the palace

The COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has recommended limiting to 200 the gathering for the inauguration of Dasara festivities atop Chamundi Hills on October 17 and 300 for Jamboo Savari on the palace premises on October 26, taking all mandatory COVID-19 precautions.

The number of persons recommended for participation includes officials, staff on duty, artists and security personnel having valid passes from the district administration.

Importantly, the Health Departmentโ€™s TAC has recommended to the Mysuru district administration to organise a safe, virtual Dasara for the public this year in view of the pandemic.

The committee headed by Dr M.K. Sudarshan, which inspected the Dasara venues on Friday, has also recommended that the cultural events at the palace for eight days from October 17 to 24 should be limited for two hours a day by local artists and the participation not exceed 50.

As far as the Dasara illumination is concerned, the TAC wants the police to be posted at the strategic places here to prevent crowding and for checking wearing of face masks by all. The illumination at select areas from October 17 to 26 will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The TAC, including Dr. Mohammad Shariff, member secretary, and member Dr. Lokesh Alahari were in Mysuru on the instructions of the Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare. They met Deputy Commissioner Rohini Sindhuri and other officials, before making their recommendations.

Dr .Sudarshan, in his report to the Health Department, said the COVID-19 fatality rate in Mysuru is 2.1 per cent and test positivity rate is 17 per cent (as on October 8). Mysuru stands next to Bengaluru in terms of disease burden and fatality. Dasara is internationally acclaimed, celebrated with pomp and gaiety. But this year, in the context of pandemic, it cannot be celebrated the way it used to be and a lot of safety measures are necessary to ensure continuation of tradition and cultural activities simultaneously ensuring the events are COVID-19 safe.

RT-PCR negative test report (done after October 14) should be made mandatory for all participants at the venues. The test for officials, staff, security personnel, media persons, artists and others should be made compulsory, the committee recommended.

The TAC suggested that the artists and other performers should be preferably from Mysuru and other districts of Karnataka. Besides all recommended precautions at the venues, persons with symptoms of cough, cold, fever, sore throat, difficulty in breathing etc., should not be allowed at the venues.

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