The Jharkhand government on Monday ordered a ban on Chhath Puja celebrations in water bodies, in view of the coronavirus crisis, ANI reported.

The government said it issued the order because it would have been impossible to maintain distance while performing the rituals. “Therefore Chhath Puja in the waters of public ponds/rivers/lakes/dams/reservoirs will not be permitted, so as to minimise the chances of spread of Covid-19 infection,” it said in the order.

A ban was also imposed on setting up stalls near water bodies. The bursting of firecrackers is not allowed either.

Chhath Puja will be celebrated on November 20 this year. People stand in rivers and lakes and perform rituals.

Jharkhand has reported more than 1 lakh cases and 924 death so far, according to the Union health ministry.

The Delhi government had also banned Chhath Puja celebrations at temples and river banks last week amid a sharp increase in coronavirus cases, PTI reported. The Bharatiya Janata Party had criticised the order and demanded that people be allowed to observe the festival.

Last year, devotees celebrating the festival in Delhi were seen standing knee-deep in toxic foam that had formed on the surface of Yamuna.

India on Monday recorded 30,548 new coronavirus cases, which took the country’s total to 88,45,127. The toll rose to 1,30,070 with 435 more deaths. The number of active cases stood at 4,65,478. As many as 82,49,579 people have recovered from the disease in India so far.