UAE announces new COVID-19 measures for Ramadan

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The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday announced it would be implementing new measures during the month of Ramadan as a precaution against the coronavirus.

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Ramadan – which will start on April 13 or 14 pending the moon sighting – is the month when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. It is often celebrated with large gatherings, group prayers at mosques, and several other communal activities.

During the month, everyone must avoid family gatherings and food exchanges with people who are not members of the same household, the Ministry of Health and Prevention said.

“For the health & safety of society, we advise all to avoid evening gatherings during Ramadan, limit family visits, & avoid distributing & exchanging meals between homes & families. Only members of the same family living in the same house can share meals,” the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) said.

Collective Iftar tents, and meals in front of mosques or other public places are strictly prohibited, NCEMA added.

Restaurants will not be allowed to distribute meals, according to NCEMA.

Meals can be distributed only in labor accommodations. However, those who want to donate meals to workers must reach out to the management of the accommodation and a restaurant to distribute meal packets.

Taraweeh prayers, which are the additional ritual prayers performed by Muslims at night after the Isha prayer during the holy month of Ramadan, will only be allowed under strict guidelines. Isha and Taraweeh prayers will be limited to a maximum of 30 minutes, NCEMA said.

“Mosques will be closed immediately after the prayer, while women’s prayer areas, other facilities, and external roads praying areas will remain closed.”

The UAE urged everyone to adhere to the new measures and instructions, adding that officials will conduct intensive inspection campaigns during Ramadan, and legal measures will be taken against all violators, whether individuals or institutions.

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