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India’s daily COVID-19 cases hit 72,049 as toll nears 7 million

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India logged 72,049 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, taking its tally past 6.75 million cases, as the government issued guidelines for the country’s upcoming religious festival season.

At least 986 deaths linked to the virus were reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 104,555, the Health Ministry said in its daily update.

The Health Ministry also detailed preventive measures to contain the virus during the Hindu festival season beginning in mid-October, prohibiting any events inside designated containment zones.

The ministry issued guidelines on large gatherings, including site plans that ensure adequate space for events, markings to maintain physical-distancing as well as bans on touching idols and holy books.

Based on the ministry’s guidelines, local agencies have to enforce thermal screenings at venues and ensure people wear face masks.

Vulnerable populations, such as seniors, were urged to observe the festivals at home.

Authorities and doctors have warned that two events had the potential to spread the virus, the festival season, which sees large congregations and markets; as well as elections in the state of Bihar, which has some 72 million voters.

The holidays Dussehra and Durga Puja are due later in October.

Diwali, the festival of lights, will be celebrated in November.

India is the second-most infected country worldwide, with 6,757,131 cases, only behind the United States, which has a total of 7,501,769 cases, according to the U.S based Johns Hopkins University.(dpa/NAN)

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