Dubai cancels Ramadan tent permits to curb rising COVID-19 cases

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All Ramadan tent permits in Dubai have been cancelled as part of the United Arab Emirates’ efforts to curb the rising number of coronavirus infections, the Dubai Media Office announced on Tuesday.

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Tents outside of mosques, houses, or any other public places will be prohibited during the holy month, the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) in Dubai announced.

Charitable distribution of food will also be banned, unless it is in collaboration with charities and institutions that are approved and licensed by the IACAD to ensure the distribution complies with the latest COVID-19 protocols, Ahmed Darwish, Executive Director of Charitable Works at IACAD, said.

Dozens of tents are usually set up outside of mosques and other public spaces around the UAE to serve food to Muslims who want to break their fast.

“Compliance with preventive and precautionary measures is a collective community responsibility to protect public health,’’ Darwish added.

IACAD said it would continue to reach out to the needy through its digital Meals of Hope initiative during Ramadan.

The decision to cancel all permits for Ramadan tents, majlises and iftar gatherings was taken as part of the country’s plans to combat the coronavirus pandemic, Ahmed Darwish, Executive Director of Charitable Works at IACAD, said.

This year, Ramadan is expected to begin on April 12, pending the moon sighting. Ramadan is the month-long period when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and is usually celebrated with family and friends.

Dubai last week announced that it would be extending coronavirus countermeasures it currently has in place until the beginning of Ramadan.

The maximum capacity allowed in venues with indoor seating, including cinemas, entertainment and sports venues, will remain at 50 percent, the emirate’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management said.

Shopping malls, hotels, swimming pools and private beaches in hotels are permitted to only operate at 70 percent capacity, the committee said. Restaurants and cafes across the city must close by 1 a.m., it added.

Health officials introduced new restrictions earlier this month after the country began seeing the rate of infections rise rapidly due to an influx of vacationers arriving at the tourist hub.

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