Health officials in the United Arab Emirates have advised the public to follow COVID-19 safety regulations when spending Eid al-Adha, and have released new protocols for the Muslim holiday, after noticing that previous holidays had resulted in a 500 percent increase in new cases.
The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) revealed during a health briefing that they have collated data from the past three major holidays in the UAE correlating the celebrations with a significant increase in new COVID-19 infections.
Following Eid al-Fitr this year, the average daily ratio of COVID-19 cases reached more than 2,000 cases, representing a 60 percent increase, while after the New Year celebration, cases across the Emirates reached a daily ratio of 2,700 cases, representing a 200 percent increase.
During Eid al-Adha last year, the average daily ratio of COVID-19 infections amounted to more than 1,400 cases which, at the time, was equivalent to an increase of more than 500 percent.
Dr. Farida al-Hosani, a spokesperson for the health sector, asked the people to avoid a similar rise during the next Eid al-Adha.
“We review these statistics with you to confirm that the responsibility today is shared between us, and your commitment to precautionary measures, especially during these occasions, contributes positively to reducing these rates,” she told the health briefing. “It is the responsibility of everyone. We must be socially responsible and show awareness.”
“The UAE sectors are playing their role to protect and keep you safe. So, contribute and play your positive role in supporting the national efforts. Celebrate while securing your health.”
NCEMA have also released new Eid al-Adha safety protocols ahead of the celebrations.
Mosques will hold prayers for no more than 15 minutes, and safety signs will be posted in outdoor areas of places of worship. Worshippers will also be invited to bring their own prayer mats, and prayer spots will be marked with socially separated markers.
People are asked to avoid large gatherings, refrain from shaking hands or hugging at Eid prayers and to get tested before vising elderly relatives. People have also been asked to avoid exchanging and distributing meat, gifts and foods among neighbors.
Gatherings should be limited to first-degree relatives and families living in the same house.
The UAE has combatted the pandemic with vigorous testing and safety measures and has officially surpassed Seychelles in becoming the world’s most vaccinated nation with more than 15.9 million doses, according to NCEMA.
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