The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has spread to more than 100 countries, and to contain the virus, many festivities, gatherings, and events that draw large crowds have been canceled. However, in India, Holi, a traditional Hindu festival that celebrates the beginning of spring as well as the triumph of good over evil, still went ahead.
Holi celebrations. Image Credit: Khairur Rijal Pauzi / Shutterstock
The Holi festival is a yearly celebration in India and other areas in Asia, such as Nepal. In this celebration, people throw colored powder and water, but the enthusiasm was subdued compared to previous years amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his decision to sit it out, saying, "I have decided not to participate," in the celebrations.
In most countries, festivals and large gatherings are already canceled to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The virus is highly contagious, with most outbreaks linked to large groups, such as the Wuhan seafood market, where the outbreak started, a Korean church, and the Holy Land in Qom, Iran.
In New Delhi, many events were canceled as the number of confirmed cases in the second most populated country rose to 62.
"Yes, it's a coronavirus that made us cancel our programs. People are scared this year, we have canceled our event," Anshuman Ghulati, festival director of Holi Moo, which is one of the most significant Holi events in New Delhi, with 7,000 people, attended the previous year.
Indonesia reports first coronavirus death
Indonesia has confirmed its first death related to the coronavirus disease, a 53-year-old British woman in Bali. She had many underlying health issues such as hypertension, obstructive lung disease, and hyperthyroidism.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has increased to 34, as confirmed by Achmad Yurianto, a Health Ministry official who was appointed as the COVID-19 spokesperson.
The ages of the confirmed cases range between 16 to 59 years old, and some had encounters with the nation's first two patients. The patent died at 2 a.m. on Mar. 11, noting that the coronavirus has reduced her immune system, and the condition worsened due to her pre-existing medical conditions.
Further, there were seven new cases, who are from other countries, adding to the eight cases on Mar. 10, and 13 cases on Mar. 9. The number of new cases in the country has been increasing, prompting the government to ramp up efforts to test people for COVID-19. On Mar. 10, an additional 10,000 testing kits arrived in Jakarta, which can supplement the more accurate swab tests. On Mar. 11, about 736 people had been tested.
Indonesia is the world's fourth most populated country, which worries many health experts.
National battle against coronavirus
Indonesia announced the setting up the Muhammadiyah Covid-19 Command Centre (MCCC), with Indonesian physician, Corona Rintawan in-charge.
The organization is designed to help the government stem the spread of the coronavirus, with the concept that prevention, early detection, and rapid handling are crucial steps to contain the outbreak.
"All of the Muhammadiyah Philanthropic Initiative (AUM) outlets will move massively and in an integrated way to provide strategic mitigation against the spread of the virus," Corona Rintawan, said in a statement.
The task force has designated 20-top hospitals on Sumatra and Java for the coronavirus fight.
Currently, the outbreak has taken 4,615 people and infected over 125,000 people worldwide.