Videos have emerged on social media showing a huge gathering in Hyderabad for Friday prayers amid the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that’s sweeping across the country.
A couple of hours after the gathering at Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid, near the famous monument Charminar, for prayers on the last Friday of the Ramzan month for Muslims came an order of the Telangana government banning large gatherings to minimise Covid risks.
No more than 100 people are to be allowed at weddings and 20 at funerals, and all public gathering of any kind, whether social, political or religious are also banned in the state.
The videos of the Friday prayers in Hyderabad show hundreds gathered under a single roof. Most were without masks. The size of the crowd left no scope for social distancing – a necessary safety measure suggested by health experts as the coronavirus is known to be infectious airborne.
Telangana has been reporting nearly 6,000 Covid cases a day for some time now, with Hyderabad adding over 1,000 cases daily.
Only today the state reported over 5,500 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total caseload to 4.87 lakh.
Adding to the problem is a shortage of vaccines, so preference will be given to those who have taken the first dose and are waiting for the second one, Public Health Director G Srinivasa Rao said today.
Mass religious gatherings and even election rallies have been criticised as reckless events at a time of great difficulties for citizens due to the second wave of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 18 appealed for the Kumbh Mela – before its scheduled end date – to be observed “only as symbolic amid the coronavirus crisis”. Huge gatherings of tens of thousands of pilgrims along the banks of the Ganga had sparked nationwide concerns as India kept seeing an alarming surge in infections.