Diwali at a distance during lockdown

Barking and Dagenham Council has urged residents to celebrate Diwali safely and inside this weekend.

The council said it is “vital” that those celebrating the Indian festival of light do so in line with lockdown rules.

The borough recorded 216 residents with COVID-19 per 100,000 people in the week ending November 8 and public health officials warned of a rising tide of cases at meetings earlier this week.

The council said it “will be tough, but this is so important to help keep people safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19″ by celebrating inside this year and not mixing households.

The town hall is streaming events and a ceremony with faith leaders online in celebration.

Councillor Saima Ashraf added: “We know this is a very special time of year for those who celebrate Diwali. We want to make sure that people celebrate safely and follow the guidelines set out during our current lockdown.

“So, this Diwali let us give thanks for all we hold dear. Our health, our family and our friends and I wish you a happy and safe Diwali.”

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Rachael Burford

Local Democracy Reporter