Millions of Muslims across the world have started observing Ramadan, a festival that includes a month of fasting and prayer. This year’s Ramadan observation will be the second since the world was hit by the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
A year ago around this time, many nations were under lockdown with tight restrictions on social gathering and religious activities.
This year, however, a lot of countries including Ghana have begun aggressive vaccination exercises, amidst relaxed restrictions on social and religious gatherings.
Concerns are rife about how different this year’s Ramadan could be observed with the least potential to spread the virus which has killed more than 770 Ghanaians as of April 14, 2021.
Fact-Check Ghana has put together this guide to help the Muslims during this Ramadan period.
Health Experts say Ramadan must be observed with a lot of caution as disregard for the known protocols are a recipe for disaster.
Here in Ghana, since less than 800,000 people have been vaccinated, the likelihood that you’d meet someone who has not been vaccinated is high, hence large gatherings are a threat.
Hosting large gatherings of unvaccinated congregants under such conditions is a “very big risk,” said Shanawani, President of American Muslim Health Professionals.
“I know we want to go back to a sense of normalcy but we need to wait a little longer, even if it means another year of being at home during Ramadan.”
Experts have advised that to safely undertake this one-month exercise, practitioners must observe the following protocols.
- Don’t go to the mosque if you feel sick or are at a higher risk for Covid-19.
- Make wudu (ablution) at home if possible.
- Maintain six feet of social distancing at all times.
- Wear a face mask the entire time you’re at the mosque.
- Regularly sanitize or wash your hands.
- If possible observe congregational prayers in an open space.
Can People still pray together?
Several Countries have banned Ramadan-related activities including the closure of mosques.
For instance in Egypt, Jordan, and Iran-one of the hardest-hit nations, Aljazeera reports that evening Tarawih prayers have been suspended, with citizens being urged to offer prayers at home.
This report is produced under the project: COVID-19 Response in Africa: Together for Reliable Information being implemented with funding support from the European Union.