MUMBAI REUTERS Aug 21-A jump in coronavirus infections on Friday pushed India closer to the 3 million mark, piling pressure on authorities to prevent huge gatherings this weekend as Mumbai celebrates the Hindu elephant-headed god Ganesh.
For most of western India, especially the country’s financial capital, Ganesh Chaturthi marks the beginning of an 11-day festival usually marked by big public celebrations.
Social media was flooded with pictures of shoppers crowding markets to buy flowers and sweets, but it is expected to be a quieter Ganesh festival this year.
“You can see everyone’s shops are full of idols. No one is coming out to buy anything,” Ramdas Ghodekar, who sells Ganesh idols in central Mumbai, told Reuters.
India reported 68,898 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours - the third straight daily increase above 60,000 - taking the total to 2.91 million, the third worst in the world after the United States and Brazil Deaths increased by 983 to 54,849.