The Centre on Wednesday wrote to states and Union Territories, asking them to consider imposing local-level restrictions during Holi and other upcoming festivals as the country is racing to contain a second wave of the coronavirus, PTI reported.

In a letter to chief secretaries of states and Union Territories, Additional Secretary at the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry Arti Ahuja also advised them to stop large gatherings.

“In view of upcoming festivals such as Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Bihu, Easter and Eid-ul-Fitr, etc, it is strongly advised that states may consider imposing local restrictions in public observance of these festivals and limit/do away with mass gatherings,” Ahuja said in the letter.

The health ministry official also stated that the battle against the coronavirus pandemic was at a critical juncture with the rising number of cases and deaths.

Meanwhile, the Haryana and Pune administration also banned Holi celebrations due to the surge in new cases.

“In view of the coronavirus situation, the Haryana government has banned public celebration of Holi,” the state’s Home Minister Anil Vij tweeted.

In an official order, Pune District collector Rajesh Deshmukh said Holi celebrations in public spaces such as hotels, resorts and other public spots are banned. Housing societies are also not permitted to hold Holi celebrations on their premises on March 28 and 29, the order said.

On Tuesday, Mumbai’s civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, banned Holi celebrations in public and private spaces and said that it will take strict action against those who flout the norms. Delhi government has also banned public celebration of Holi and Navratri.

The Uttar Pradesh government has banned processions or gatherings in public spaces without prior permission, while not allowing those above 60 years of age and below 10, at all, NDTV reported. Chandigarh, Gujarat and Odisha have also put restrictions on Holi celebrations, according to NDTV.