The Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs has urged both citizens and residents to refrain from any iftar gatherings, even at homes.
The holy month of Ramadhan is marked by social and religious gatherings where families and friends unite to break their fast together, after sunset for iftar or before dawn for suhoor and that is considered auspicious during the holy month.
“Besides prohibiting mass gatherings in Ramadhan tents and other venues in view of the community spread of Covid-19, we would like to urge all believers to avoid iftar gatherings at homes where people from outside, be it a relative or a friend, are assembled”, a senior scholar at the MARA told the Observer.
In addition to the statement from the Supreme Committee tasked with combating Covid-19, which stopped all social, Ramadhan gatherings, Endowments representative said that prayers should be conducted individually or just within family members, as the case may be and not otherwise.
“Prayers during the holy month too should be conducted individually and not otherwise. No others, from outside one’s home, should be encouraged to pray together in view of the contagion”, he said.
People who are feeling unwell or have any symptoms of COVUD-19 should avoid observing fast and instead, they must follow the medical practioner’s opinion. Similarly, older people and anyone with pre-existing medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease or cancer need not compel themselves to fast.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also underlined the importance of continuing the social distancing practice through the holy month in view of warding off any potential risk.
“The transmission of COVID-19 is facilitated by close contact between people, as the virus is spread through respiratory droplets and contact with contaminated surfaces. To mitigate the public health impact, Oman has implemented physical distancing measures aimed at interrupting transmission by reducing interaction between people”, Dr Magtymova Akjemal, WHO Representative to the Sultanate, told the Observer.
“These measures are fundamental control mechanisms to control the spread of infectious diseases, particularly respiratory infections, associated with large gatherings of people. Hence, any iftar gathering that sees the presence of any outsider, be it an extended relative, need to be avoided”, she added.