Wednesday, January 19News That Matters

India devotees celebrate Holi festival, ignore COVID restrictions

Holi marks the advent of spring in India and is celebrated all around the Hindu-majority country with coloured powders and splashing water.

Thousands of devotees have defied coronavirus prevention protocols and social distancing norms to celebrate the festival.

Though Holi itself is celebrated on a particular day, March 29 this year, it is a week-long affair in villages around Mathura in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and some other parts of India.

India has reported a worrying second surge in COVID-19 cases, which has prompted multiple states to return to some form of restrictions on public gatherings.

On Wednesday, the country reported 275 new COVID-19 deaths, the most this year, as the surge fills hospital beds in big states such as Maharashtra. Total deaths have shot up to 160,441.

Infections rose by 47,262 in the past 24 hours, the highest since early November, to a total of 11.7 million, data from the health ministry showed.