UAE issues strict coronavirus regulations for Ramadan
Only one family living in the same house can have iftar and suhoor meals together under strict rules announced in the UAE designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus throughout Ramadan.
During the government’s media briefing on Tuesday evening, Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, official spokesperson of the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA), urged everyone to avoid majlis during the Holy Month, as well as family visits and the distribution of meals between families.
He also pointed out that family or organisational iftar tents or group iftars in public spaces will not be allowed, along with the distribution of iftar meals in front of houses and mosques, explaining that people who wish to distribute iftar meals should coordinate with charity associations, and Zakat and other donations may be done online.
He said: "The pandemic has created a new reality, but we can enjoy the spiritual atmosphere of the Holy Month while adhering to the precautionary measures. We can still be in contact with our loved ones despite social distancing via social media and digital platforms.”
The distribution of meals and in-kind donations will be limited to official and registered national charity organisations according to approved protocols, he added, stressing that restaurants will be banned from distributing iftar meals inside or in front of their premises. And meals can only be distributed to workers’ accommodation through direct coordination between restaurants and the management of workers’ housing units in every area while adhering to social distancing rules.
Regarding Tarawih prayers, Al Dhaheri said that prayers can take place according to current precautionary controls and previous precautionary measures covering prayers, such as a 30-minute limit, noting that mosques will be closed immediately after prayers. Women’s prayer areas, services and health facilities and outdoor prayer corners in mosques will be closed, he added.
In terms of night prayers during the last ten days of the Holy Month, he said that the situation will be assessed at that time and current procedures will be updated accordingly, but religious sessions in mosques will be suspended - people can participate in lectures and religious sessions virtually via smartphones.
"We urge everyone to cooperate and adhere to relevant procedures and instructions. Intensive inspection campaigns will take place during the Holy Month, and whoever violates declared procedures, whether individuals and institutions, will be subject to legal action," he said.
The UAE has vaccinated 52.46 percent of the target category of the national population.
According to daily reports on the campaign, the country has provided nearly 7 million vaccine doses to more than 205 medical centres.
Abdulrahman bin Mohamed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), said: "The campaign that was launched at the start of the year around the country, upon the directives of the country’s leadership, has vaccinated nearly 70.21 percent of elderly people and those with chronic diseases, who are being prioritised."