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The Maharashtra government on Friday announced to re-open all the temples and other religious places in the state from 7 October. All religious places in Maharashtra were closed in the view of the COVID pandemic.

However Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged people not to drop guard and follow all COVID protocols amid the fear of possible third wave of the pandemic. “All religious places will be opened from October 7 in the state. The Maharashtra government has prepared itself for a third wave, but with all precautions, the state is allowing relaxations in various activities," he said. 

“Although daily COVID-19 cases are showing a declining trend, everybody should take care and follow COVID-19 protocols," he said. 

“While religious places are going to be opened, people still need to wear face masks and use hand sanitizers. The management of religious places will be responsible for implementation of such measures," Thackeray said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said in a tweet , all places of worship will reopen for devotees from the first day of Navaratri, i.e., 7th October 2021, while observing all COVID safety protocols.

The opposition BJP had been demanding reopening of temples and other places of worship in Maharashtra. Last month, the BJP had staged protests in several cities in support of the demand. 

Last year in November, places of religious worship were reopened after first coronavirus wave waned, but they were shutdown again for people after the second wave started in the state in March 2021.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra on Friday reported 3,286 new coronavirus cases and 51 deaths which took the state's infection tally to 65,37,843 and death toll to 1,38,776, a health department official said. 

With 3,933 patients discharged from hospitals, the number of recovered cases rose to 63,57,012. Maharashtra now has 39,491 active cases. There are 2,58,653 people in home quarantine and another 1,462 in institutional quarantine. 

Maharashtra's COVID-19 recovery rate stands at 97.23 per cent, while the fatality rate is 2.12 per cent. The cumulative number of coronavirus tests conducted in the state climbed to 5,78,19,385 after 1,72,870 samples were examined since Thursday evening. As many as 10 districts -- Yavatmal, Bhandara, Gondia, Gadchiroli, Hingoli, Washim, rural parts of Jalgaon, Nanded, Amarawati and Nagpur -- did not report new COVID-19 cases on Friday.

(With inputs from agencies)

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