The World Health Organization (who) has expressed fears of a further rise in coronavirus infections in North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean during Ramadan. The number of cases “increased by 22% and deaths increased by 17% in the last week compared to the week before,”adds to concerns.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that it is”concerned” that coronavirus cases may increase during Ramadan in North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean.
“The number of cases has increased by 22% and deaths have increased by 17% over the past week compared to the previous week,”said WHO Regional Director for the eastern Mediterranean Ahmed Al-Mandhari in a video press conference.
He said “reflect this increase in cases reveal a disturbing trend” in the region that stretches from Morocco to Pakistan, adding, “We are concerned in particular that the current situation may worsen during the month of Ramadan if you don’t meet people measures precautionary proven”.
“The soul has changed”
“People may feel this year like last year that the spirit of Ramadan has changed due to social distancing and the ban on going out,”Al-mudhiri said. However, he considered that the (precautionary) measures that must be applied to help contain the pandemic were in line with the basic principles of Islam, including the doctrine of “no harm”.
Muslims, especially in Arab countries, used to exchange visits, gather family and friends around Iftar tables during the month of Ramadan, and perform community prayers in mosques after iftar.
Many countries have relaxed their Ramadan measures last year to stem the spread of the pandemic.
In Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, the government this year authorized evening prayers during the month of fasting, but the capacity of mosques will not exceed fifty percent.
Religious officials called on residents to pray in their homes, and several areas including Jakarta banned gatherings at iftar time. The government has also banned regular movement on Eid al-Fitr, which falls on 12 May this year.
In Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country with more than a hundred million people, the Ministry of Endowments decided this year to allow Tarawih prayer in mosques that were closed last year during Ramadan but with precautionary measures.
He stressed the need to”protect ourselves and prevent transmission of the disease to others by strictly following health and social measures that have proven effective in stopping infection and saving lives, including physical distancing, wearing masks, hand hygiene, good ventilation, surveillance, testing, contact tracking, isolation and quarantine”.
Prayer at home for the sick
The World Health Organization hopes that all precautionary measures will be taken in mosques, said Dalia samhuri, emergency response officer. She called on “those with any illness” to stay in their homes so as not to harm others.
“Vaccines are now available in all countries of the region,” he said, but stressed that “there is still a glaring imbalance in the distribution of vaccines and this imbalance is clearly visible in our region in particular.”
“Health care workers and people living in some of the most vulnerable places like Syria and Yemen have very limited access to vaccines,”he said.
Who officials explained that Yemen has received promises of 14 million doses of vaccines through the Kovacs alliance but has already received only 260,000 doses so far.