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The Nagaland government has decided to allow the celebration of Durga Puja in marquees outside containment zones.

The government on Friday issued a series of safety guidelines to prevent COVID transmission in the pandals.

The order issued by Principal Secretary (Home) Abhijit Sinha said that people can visit marquees only between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Noting that the festival is celebrated across the state, the largest number being in Dimapur, Sinha asked organisers to ensure that all visitors adhere to COVID norms.

He said that a maximum of 50 per cent of the capacity of marquees will be allowed inside the pandals at a time.

Organisers must ensure thermal screening, hand-washing or sanitising facilities on the premises, strict adherence to social distancing in queues outside marquees, and sanitisation of the pandals every six hours, the order stated.

They must shift any person exhibiting COVID-like symptoms to the nearest hospital, it said.

The state government urged elderly people above the age of 65 and children below the age of 10, besides people with comorbidities and pregnant women to avoid visiting the pandals.

A maximum of 50 people can be part of any immersion procession.

The district task force headed by the deputy commissioner will be the final authority to clear pandals, and will conduct immersion in a staggered manner to prevent the spread of the infection.

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