New Delhi – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be participating in this year’s celebrations for Holi, the annual festival of colours, because of the new coronavirus outbreak.
“Experts across the world have advised to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus,’’ Modi wrote in a Twitter post.
“Hence, this year, I have decided not to participate in any Holi Milan programme.’’
Milan means meeting in Hindi and the Indian prime minister usually joins celebrations with his staff and fellow politicians.
The Holi festival celebrated to herald spring sees people smearing coloured powder on each other and spraying coloured water.
Home Minister, Amit Shah, also said he would not be celebrating.
“I also appeal everyone to avoid public gatherings and take a good care of yourself and your family,’’ Shah said.
India, which for weeks reported just three positive cases of the new coronavirus, has seen an uptick in positive cases in the past two days.
At least 25 people have tested positive since Monday including a group of Italian tourists.