Places of worship will remain closed for the current time

Staying at home during Ramadan will play an important part in the nation’s effort to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). That’s the message from health experts and Muslim leaders as communities across England prepare to celebrate the holy month.

The government’s stay alert and safe (social distancing) rules apply to all UK citizens and are supported by a wide variety of Muslim community organisations including the British Board of Scholars and Imams. The government recognizes that this is an unprecedented request but following these rules will help control the spread of coronavirus and protect family, friends, the wider community, and the most vulnerable.

Keeping yourself and loved ones well during Ramadan this year will mean adapting usual religious and cultural practices. This is particularly important for protecting vulnerable people who are shielding because of underlying health conditions as well as family, friends and carers of those who are most vulnerable.

During Ramadan you should only leave your home for one of four reasons:

  • for work, where you cannot work from home
  • going to shops that are permitted to be open – to get things like food and medicine, and to collect goods ordered online or on the phone
  • to exercise or spend time outdoors for recreation
  • any medical need, to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

Traditionally Ramadan is a time for communal prayer, spiritual reflection, meals with extended family and friends to break daily fasts, and concludes with the community celebration of Eid-Al Fitr. Whilst staying at home throughout the holy month will be challenging, it is necessary to protect the NHS and save lives.

Consider how you could use technology to stay connected with your family, friends and wider religious community at this time. Video and social media could connect you to worship services and ceremonies. Individual pastoral and care visits could be received by phone. Despite being physically apart, religious practices could be observed at the same time of day as the rest of your faith community. Your faith leaders will be able to advise you on the many ways for you to stay connected.

Fasting for healthy people can continue as usual this Ramadan. If you have very mild symptoms of coronavirus or a flu-like illness and don’t require medication or treatment, as advised by a physician, you can also fast but should do so while self-isolating. Other coronavirus patients with more severe symptoms should consider not fasting, as is usual for patients with any serious illness. Always consult your physician for advice on the particular circumstances of your condition and whether or not fasting is advisable. People preparing food for others for iftar or suhoor, shouldn’t do so if they have any symptoms of coronavirus or any other flu-like illness, even if the symptoms are mild.

In addition to performing wudu before prayers, healthy hygiene should also be maintained through handwashing for 20 seconds, using soap and water or a hand sanitiser, when you enter your home, blow your nose, sneeze or cough and eat or handle food, to help protect yourself and others.

Osman Dar, Consultant in Global Health at Public Health England said: Ramadan is a time for prayer, contemplation, self-sacrifice and charity – all of these qualities are key to supporting our collective effort in tackling this pandemic. This Ramadan, let’s think about how we can best protect the most vulnerable in our families, amongst our neighbours and in all our diverse communities. By working together we can minimise the transmission of coronavirus and reduce the chances of overwhelming our health and care services. Let us not forget the deeply spiritual reminders this pandemic brings; unite, pull together and leave nobody behind insha’Allah.

Stay at home for Ramadan

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times.
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable you’re strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact, to protect yourself. Read more about shielding.

If you have symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus, and do not require hospital treatment, or if you live in a household with someone who shows symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus you must remain at home until you are well. Read more about self-isolation and household isolation.

The UK Government is following a scientific-led action plan to reduce the impact of coronavirus, to protect the NHS and to save lives. The success of this plan depends on the nation’s support to follow the guidance. Please follow this guidance and stay safe this Ramadan.

May 22nd 2020. Original posted by Public Health England