The Muslim population is being urged to follow all Covid-19 protocols as they observe the month of Ramadan and prepare for Eid celebrations.
Director of Veterinary Public Health Dr Saed Rahaman made the call yesterday, as he noted Eid celebrations have been impacted by the pandemic for a second year.
Speaking during the Ministry of Health’s virtual news conference, Rahaman recalled that “lockdown” measures were implemented around the time of Eid in 2020 and Muslims were not able to attend mosque and celebrate in their usual fashion.
He said while restrictions have been eased to allow religious services this year, there is still a need for vigilance.
“Taking into consideration that there is a new normal and, as a result, we have to take personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our community from transmission of Covid from one person to the next,” he said.
Rahaman said many masjids across the country have implemented strict entry policies, including screening individuals for fever upon entry, setting up stations for washing and sanitising hands and requiring people to walk with their own prayer mats.
He noted that masjids are also operating at 50-per cent capacity, in keeping with the guidelines.
Rahaman noted that some people may want to hold prayer gatherings at their homes, but he advised against it, saying this would only put more people at risk.
He stressed that a key principle of Islam is to not cause harm to others.
“So, although we commemorate this month of Ramadan, and we are happy to celebrate and to enjoy in this blessed month, it is important that we try to keep safe, keep our family, keep our homes protected and do what is required...”
Rahaman also sought to assure the Muslim community that they can take the Covid-19 vaccine even if they are fasting.
“To those Muslims who are fasting, you can take the vaccine when fasting. It is allowed in Islam,” he said.
Giving an update on the vaccination drive in the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA), chief executive Davlin Thomas said more than 3,800 people have been vaccinated at the four vaccination sites throughout the NCRHA alone.
Thomas said additional phone lines as well as WhatsApp numbers have been set up for people to make appointments.
Additionally, he said of the 4,000 healthcare workers in the NCRHA, roughly one quarter have been vaccinated.