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Celebrate festivals strictly adhering to safety measures during COVID pandemic

Chandigarh, (Gurpreet) : Punjab Social Security, Women and Child Development Minister Mrs. Aruna Chaudhary, Sports, Youth Services and NRI Affairs Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi and Health & Family Welfare and Labour Minister Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu, on Monday, appealed to the people of Punjab to celebrate festivals by strictly adhering to safety measures during this COVID-19 pandemic. They also appealed to Punjabis to avoid burning of crackers on festivals amidst the rising air pollution.

In a joint press communiqué issued here, the Cabinet Ministers said that festivity celebrations in the midst of these unprecedented COVID-19 times require extraordinary self-discipline and restraint on our part to ensure safe festivity. Thus, all the citizens should celebrate the festival responsibly, with strict adherence to all COVID-19 safety protocols. “People should enjoy the celebration with their families in the comfort of their homes by staying away from crowded places and wear masks at all times if they need to step out”, they added.

As per the health protocols, the ministers said, no festivity events to be allowed in containment zones. Organizers/staff/visitors from containment zones shall not be allowed to participate in events. They said, people residing in containment zones may be encouraged to observe festivals inside their homes, adding that persons above 64 years of age/persons with co-morbidities/pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home.

Appealing people of the state to avoid burning of crackers, the cabinet ministers said that the pollution level, especially of sulphur nitrates, magnesium and nitrogen dioxide increase manifold on Diwali due to bursting of crackers, which are proved to be hazardous for our respiratory system and can cause serious ailments such as asthma, lung cancer, shortness of breath and many other respiratory disease. “The level of air pollution has crossed the permissible limit in the country, which is harmful for the human body and could cause major problems in breathing especially to asthmatic and those suffering from pulmonary diseases”, they stated.

The Punjab ministers further urged that people should prefer to buy sweets and other food items from only FSSAI licensed or registered shops and they should ensure the expiry date i.e. "Best Before" before buying the sweets besides avoiding sweets rich in colours. “People should not buy cheap khoya based sweets. And, must be taken care that all the preparations should be prepared hygienically”, said the cabinet ministers, adding that excessive deep fried foods specially frozen foods must be avoided and use of reheated oils at both homes and shops should be strictly avoided.

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