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Fasting in the time of Corona ..World Health Organization Advices

The holy month of Ramadan is distinguished by its well-known religious and social rituals like meeting for breakfast with family and friends, and performing prayers in mosques, especially Tarawih prayer and i'tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan in mosques, devoted to worship.

Ramadan this year coincides with the outbreak of the emerging coronavirus. Because the Coronavirus easily transmitted by close contact between people through inhalation of respiratory droplets and contact with contaminated surfaces. Several countries have taken physical measures to stop transmission of infection through limiting interaction between people, including the closure of mosques and the imposition of restrictions on movement, which will directly affect religious and social gatherings that are a major pillar of the blessed month of Ramadan.

The next lines include some WHO advice for health and everything related to safe religious gatherings and social practices in Ramadan.


Abiding by the decisions regarding the establishment of religious and social gatherings

The suspension of religious and social gatherings with the spread of Covid-19 must seriously be considered. Therefore, the organization recommends that any decision taken will be based on an assessment of the resulting risks and that these decisions lie within a comprehensive approach taken by the national authorities in their response to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Therefore, if it is decided to abolish religious and social gatherings, they can be compensated with hypothetical alternatives, such as television, radio, internet, and social media, but if gatherings are allowed in Ramadan, certain measures should be taken to reduce the risk of transmission of the emerging coronavirus infection.

National health authorities must be considered the first and primary source of information and advice regarding physical separation and other measures related to preventing the spread of the emerging coronavirus, and care must be taken to ensure general adherence to the measures taken.

Tips for physical separation:

  • Adhering to leave a distance of no less than one meter (3 feet) between people at all times, especially when in mosques or shopping centers and so on.
  • Using personal prayer rugs in mosques and ensuring personal hygiene.
  • Use greeting methods that avoid contacting, such as waving, gesturing, or placing a hand on the heart.
  • Avoid the gathering of large numbers of people in places related to Ramadan customs, such as markets, mosques, and places of entertainment.

Advice for groups that are mostly at risk of coronavirus:

  • Avoid participating persons who have symptoms of Covid-19 infection in events and meetings while taking appropriate remedial measures when infected with the emerging coronavirus.
  • Avoid the participation of the elderly and people with previous medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and cancers in the gatherings, because they are the most vulnerable to severe disease and death as a result of the emerging coronavirus.

Measures to reduce gatherings negativity

Acts of righteousness:

It should be ensured that the measures of physical separation are applied while doing righteous deeds, such as paying zakat and distributing food and charity to the poor in order to preserve safety.

Activity and wellness:

No study has yet found a relationship between fasting and the risk of infection with the Coronavirus; accordingly, it is assumed that healthy people will be able to fast during Ramadan as in previous years, while patients with Covid-19 must obtain a legal license for fasting the month of Ramadan in consultation with their doctors.

  • Physical activity

The movement of many people was restricted by the result of the Covid-19 pandemic, including individual sporting activities. If the procedures allow that, people can exercise while observing the required rules of physical distance and hygiene; it is best to replace outdoor activities with home physical activities and sports classes that are widely available on the Internet.

  • Good nutrition

Good nutrition and maintaining body hydration is important at all times, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. Therefore, care should be taken to eat fresh foods rich in nutrients while drinking enough water every day.

  • Smoking

Smoking is not recommended at any time, especially in the month of Ramadan. So With the spread of the Coronavirus, the risk became greater, because smokers are vulnerable to lung disease or reduced lung capacity, which greatly increases exposure to the serious complications of Covid-19 disease. Also, while smoking fingers touch cigarettes and possibly contaminated cigarettes touch the lips, which increases the chances of the virus entering the respiratory system, as is the case with smoking pipes or hookahs, it is advised to stay away from them.

  • Taking care of mental, psychological and social health

Although the ceremonies and rituals differ in Ramadan this year, the fasting people can still do charity, prayer, participation, and giving, but with a healthy distance. It is necessary to pay attention to the inclusion of all family members in the Ramadan atmosphere, including the elderly while maintaining physical distance, and digital platforms can be used to communicate and interact with family and friends permanently.


Source: World Health Organization

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