COVID19: WHO issues guidelines for safe Ramadhan practices

Representational Pic
Representational Pic

World Health Organisation has issued guidelines for safe Ramadhan practices in view of the looming pandemic of COVID-19.

In a statement,  WHOsaid that cancelling social and religious gatherings should be seriouslyconsidered.

WHO, therefore has recommended that any decision torestrict, modify, postpone, cancel, or proceed with holding a mass gatheringshould be based on a standardized risk assessment exercise.

"If cancelling social and religious gatherings, wherepossible, virtual alternatives using platforms such as television, radio,digital, and social media can be used instead. If Ramadan gatherings areallowed to proceed, measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission shouldbe implemented."

The World Health Body said that national health authoritiesshould be considered the primary source of information and advice regardingphysical distancing and other measures related to COVID-19 in the context ofRamadan. Compliance with these established measures should be assured."Religious leaders should be involved early in decision making, so thatthey can be actively engaged in communicating any decision affecting eventsconnected with Ramadan."

Mitigation measures for physical gatherings

The following measures should be applied to any gatheringoccurring during Ramadan, such as prayers, pilgrimages, and communal meals orbanquets.

●             Considerholding the event outdoors if possible; otherwise, ensure that the indoor venuehas adequate ventilation and air flow

●             Shortenthe length of the event as much as possible to limit potential exposure

●             Givepreference to holding smaller services with fewer attendees more often, ratherthan hosting large gatherings

●             Adhere tophysical distancing among attendees, both when seated and standing, throughcreating and assigning fixed places, including when praying, performing wudu(ritual ablutions) in communal washing facilities, as well as in areasdedicated to shoe storage.

●             Regulatethe number and flow of people entering, attending, and departing from worshipspaces, pilgrimage sites, or other venues to ensure safe distancing at alltimes

●             Considermeasures to facilitate contact tracing in the event that an ill person isidentified among the attendees of the event.

Encourage healthy hygiene

Muslims perform wudu before prayers, which helps maintainhealthy hygiene. The following additional measures should be considered:

●             Ensurethat handwashing facilities are adequately equipped with soap and water andprovide alcohol-based hand-rub (at least 70% alcohol) at the entrance to andinside mosques.

●             Ensurethe availability of disposable tissues and bins with disposable liners andlids, and guarantee the safe disposal of waste.

●             Encouragethe use of personal prayer rugs to place over carpets.

●             Providevisual displays of advice on physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratoryetiquette, and general messages on COVID-19 prevention.

Frequently clean worship spaces, sites, and buildings

●             Enforceroutine cleaning of venues where people gather before and after each event,using detergents and disinfectants.

●             Inmosques, keep the premises and wudu facilities clean, and maintain generalhygiene and sanitation.

●             Frequentlyclean often-touched objects such as doorknobs, light switches, and stairrailings with detergents and disinfectant.

Charity

When the faithful give special attention to those who may beadversely affected while distributing their sadaqat or zakah during thisRamadan, consider the physical distancing measures in place. To avoid thecrowded gathering associated with iftar banquets, consider using individualpre-packaged boxes/servings of food. These can be organized by centralizedentities and institutions, which should adhere to physical distancingthroughout the whole cycle (collecting, packaging, storing and distribution).

Fasting

No studies of fasting and risk of COVID-19 infection havebeen performed. Healthy people should be able to fast during this Ramadan as inprevious years, while COVID-19 patients may consider religious licensesregarding breaking the fast in consultation with their doctors, as they woulddo with any other disease.

Healthy diet and nutrition

Proper nutrition and hydration are vital during the month ofRamadan. People should eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every dayand drink plenty of water.

Tobacco use is ill-advised under any circumstances,especially during Ramadan and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Frequent smokers may already have lung disease, or reducedlung capacity, which greatly increases the risk of serious COVID-19 illness.When smoking cigarettes, the fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes)touch the lips, which increases the likelihood of the virus entering therespiratory system. When waterpipes are used, it is likely that mouth piecesand hoses are shared, which also facilitates transmission of the virus.

Despite the different execution in practices this year, itis important to reassure the faithful that they can still reflect, improve,pray, share, and care – all from a healthy distance.

Ensuring that family, friends, and elders are still engagedin light of physical distancing needs to be considered; encouraging alternateand digital platforms for interaction is paramount. Offering special prayersfor the sick, alongside messages of hope and comfort, are methods to observethe tenants of Ramadan while maintaining public health.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Greater Kashmir
www.greaterkashmir.com