The UAE reported on Monday new cases of coronavirus infections among four families which did not adhere to precautionary measures and social distancing, and gathered for Taraweeh prayers, spreading the COVID-19 virus among the family members who are now placed under quarantine, said Dr. Amna al-Dahak al-Shamsi, official spokesperson of the UAE Government.
Al-Shamsi added that they were in violation of the guidelines set by the Emirates Fatwa Council, General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments and health authorities: “We realize the importance of performing religious rituals and acts of worship during this Holy month (of Ramadan), but they are only complete when coupled with observing precautionary health measures.”
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The UAE’s Fatwa Council had issued a ruling saying Taraweeh prayers will not be allowed in mosques during Ramadan and they should be performed individually at home and warned against congregating to perform prayers as it could endanger lives.
Taraweeh are the evening prayers performed after Isha prayers every night during the fasting month of Ramadan.
Al-Shamsi also announced that the UAE detected 680 new cases of COVID-19 infection, raising the total number of cases up to 18,878. The death toll also rose to 201, after the death of three individuals of different nationalities.
The number of recovered patients increased by 577, to a total of 5,381. Al-Shamsi said: “The percentage of recoveries has increased since the beginning of May to 28.5 percent of the total cases.”
The official spokesperson for the health sector, Dr. Farida al-Hosani, called on the public to avoid gatherings and distributing food to neighbors, as that helps spread the coronavirus.
”We understand that these habits were deeply embedded in UAE culture, but these practices, though done in good faith, could spread the virus to others. Under these exceptional circumstances, we should avoid such habits and instead donate to official bodies for the safety of all,” she said.
She advised people to deal with everyone based on the assumption that they are infected, stressing that the absence of symptoms doesn’t translate to being free of COVID-19, as some infected people are asymptomatic.
Al-Hosani also emphasized the importance of taking extra care when dealing with high risk groups such as people suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disorders, the elderly, and those with weakened immunity.
She also advised people to disinfect frequently-touched surfaces such as doors, phones, and light switches, and not to share plates and cups with others.