People shop for meat at the meat market in the centre of Kuwait City on April 14, 2021, on second fasting day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP) (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Wednesday, April 14, 2021: Covid-19 pandemic may get worse this Ramadan in certain countries, feared World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO expressed its concern regarding the same on Wednesday in a conference.

In regions of Middle East and North Africa, the rate of infection has not only increased by 22 percent but the deaths too have gone up by 17 percent in the last one week, claimed Ahmed al-Mandhari, the Cairo-based chief of the WHO for the eastern-Mediterranean.

He said, the situation in the vast region reflects a “worrying trend.” Hence, we are especially worried that the current situation may worsen during Ramadan if people
don’t follow the norms and adhere to the proven social measures that work,” he said.

Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam, began in most Muslim countries on Tuesday.  Observant Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk, and traditionally
gather with family and friends to break their fast in the evening.

“This year, like last year, people may feel that the spirit of Ramadan has changed because of social distancing and lockdowns,” said Mandhari.

The actions that need to be maintained to help contain the pandemic are in line with the
basic tenets of Islam that is take care of your physical health and do no harm to others, he added.

Dalia Samhouri, WHO’s regional head of emergency preparedness, said the international
organisation wanted “countries to do a risk assessment in order to prevent the dissemination of the infection.”

She suggested measures that could be taken around mosques during Ramadan, including
physical distancing, ventilation, and regular disinfection.

People who felt sick must stay home, along with the elderly and those who suffer from chronic disease, she added.

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