Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday agreed that there was a problem with political rallies in view of the worsening coronavirus situation in India. He, however, added that it was up to the Election Commission to take a call on it.

In an interview to NDTV, Vardhan said that the surge in coronavirus cases was the result of a combination of multiple factors such as political and social activities. He said that it was “very necessary” to put restrictions on these activities.

However, when asked specifically about restrictions on political functions, the health minister said that he cannot comment or give a direction regarding this. “We all know that it is necessary to conduct elections on time,” he told NDTV. “This is a topic for the Election Commission to take a call on. It is not appropriate for me to comment on it.”

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India is reporting a sharp increase in coronavirus cases. On Wednesday, India recorded 1,15,736 cases of coronavirus, the most infections reported in the world in a single day since the pandemic began. The country’s overall count rose to 1,28,01,785. The toll went up to 1,66,177, with 630 more fatalities reported. The active caseload stood at 8,43,473.

At the same time, elections are being held in India. While elections in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry concluded on Tuesday, voting will still be held in West Bengal in five remaining phases.

The health minister appealed to people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour to avoid getting infected. “My minimal appeal to people who are participating in elections, rallies, protests and demonstrations is that you do your normal activity as per the situation and time but can you not cover your noses and mouths properly?” he said. “Who stops you from doing that?”

He said that the coronavirus had a “beauty” that it does not require any advanced treatment. “Those who followed Covid-appropriate behaviour honestly did not fall sick in this year.”