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WHO releases Safe Ramadan Practices in the Context of the COVID-19

The World Health Organization has issued a number of guidelines related to fasting in the upcoming month of Ramadan, in conjunction with the spread of COVID-19.

 

The World Health Organization has issued a number of guidelines related to fasting in the upcoming month of Ramadan, in conjunction with the spread of COVID-19.

The organization called for the prevention of social and religious gatherings, where possible, virtual alternatives using platforms such as television, radio, digital, and social media can be used instead. If Ramadan gatherings are allowed to proceed, measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission should be implemented.

National health authorities should be considered the primary source of information and advice regarding physical distancing and other measures related to COVID-19 in the context of Ramadan. Compliance with these established measures should be assured. Religious leaders should be involved early in decision making, so that they can be actively engaged in communicating any decision affecting events connected with Ramadan.

The organization provided several advices, including practicing distancing by strictly maintaining a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) between people at all times, avoiding waving, nodding, or placing the hand over the heart, stopping large numbers of people gathering in places associated with Ramadan activities, such as entertainment venues, markets, and shops.

In regards to the venue, consider holding the event outdoors if possible; otherwise, ensure that the indoor venue has adequate ventilation and air flow, shorten the length of the event as much as possible to limit potential exposure, regulate the number and flow of people entering to ensure safe distancing at all times, and ensure that handwashing facilities are adequately equipped with soap and water and provide alcohol-based hand-rub (at least 70% alcohol) at the entrance to and inside mosques.

In regards to the well-being, WHO mentions that no studies of fasting and risk of COVID-19 infection have been performed. Healthy people should be able to fast during this Ramadan as in previous years, while COVID-19 patients may consider religious licenses regarding breaking the fast in consultation with their doctors, as they would do with any other disease.

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