Agra: Gloom and despair greeted Krishna Janmashtami festival in the entire Braj Mandal battling with Covid-19.
Temples in Vrindavan and Mathura were closed as cases of Covid-19 were being reported in double figures daily. Mathura reported 41 new cases in the last 24 hours, while Mainpuri district had an alarming tally of 52, with 23 from one area of the city. Etah reported 28 while Kasganj had 20 fresh cases.
In Agra, the tally has gone up to 2,177 with 41 new cases. So far 1,739 have recovered. With one more death of an elderly person, the tally has gone up to 102.
The spread of the infection in the rural areas continues to remain a worry. Of the 15 development blocks in the Agra district, 11 are in the containment zones.
Officials said the rural medical infrastructure was being upgraded and more health officials were being posted at the Public Health Centres (PHCs). Only serious cases were now being referred to the S.N. Medical College Covid hospital in Agra.
District officials indicated that a programme for conducting large scale random sampling would be started in the rural areas to break the chain.
Meanwhile, the drizzle that started late Tuesday evening continued till Wednesday morning. A few spells of heavy showers were reported from the rural areas.
The festival mood is sombre. “Due to the scare of corona, few people are venturing out of their homes. Since temples are closed, the Sri Krishna bhakts will probably watch online puja or remain glued to the TV sets. This time children also do not seem to be keen on decorating ‘Hindolas’, part of the festivities associated with Janmashtami,” senior citizen Sudhir Gupta of Vijay Nagar colony said.
The priest of the famous Sri Mathuradheesh temple in Agra, Nandan Shrotriya told IANS, “All ritualistic pujas will be conducted closed doors, as the temple is not open to public.” In Vrindavan, the ISKCON temple has arranged live streaming later in the evening. The festivities at the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple will also be low key.