Coronavirus: Oman bans Ramadan mass gatherings, extends Muscat lockdown until May 8
Oman has banned mass gatherings for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and extended the current lockdown in its capital Muscat until May 8 as coronavirus cases in the country continue to rise, the country’s Supreme Committee for dealing with COVID-19 announced on Tuesday.
Oman put its capital into a lockdown on April 10 in a move aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus in the sultanate. The number of cases has since continued to rise, with 1,410 cases as of Monday.
The country would be “extending the lockdown of Muscat governorate through its controls and checkpoints until 10 a.m. on Friday, May 8, 2020,” announced the country’s committee.
Ramadan mass gatherings banned
The committee also added that no mass gatherings would be allowed for Ramadan, following similar announcements in neighboring Gulf states.
“The committee stresses the importance of avoiding all gatherings during the Holy Month of Ramadan,” said the committee in a statement.
“[The committee] affirms that the closure of mosques – even for Tarawih prayers – will continue, except for the call to prayer (Azaan),” it added.
“Ramadan gatherings, such as iftar in mosques, tents or public majlises and social, cultural, sports and other group activities are strictly prohibited.”
The move echoes the UAE and Saudi Arabia, both of which have banned communal prayers during Ramadan.
Following calls from Saudi religious scholars for people to pray inside under lockdown, the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques’ Affairs announced all prayers to the public inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina will also be suspended during Ramadan.
Likewise, the UAE has also banned communal prayers. Dubai’s Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department said on Saturday that Muslims can perform Taraweeh prayers at home during the holy month of Ramadan amid the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Bahrain has said that it will hold limited Taraweeh prayers during Ramadan in the country's Grand Mosque.
On Tuesday morning, Oman announced a further death from coronavirus. The death of a 53-year-old resident brings the total to eight, according to the health ministry.
Watch: “We do not feel the joy of #Ramadan,” says a customer at a Cairo market selling traditional “Fanous” lanterns as #Egypt enforces a tight lockdown to curb the #coronavirus pandemic. https://t.co/7eCafDFwjp pic.twitter.com/nH4cVVJmMR— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) April 21, 2020