DUBAI: Religious authorities in the United Arab Emirates said medical workers treating COVID-19 patients are exempt from fasting during Ramadan and urged Muslims not to congregate for prayers during the holy month expected to start this week.
The Emirates Fatwa Council said in a statement carried on state media late on Sunday that all healthy people are obliged to fast but medical workers on the frontline of the novel coronavirus pandemic need not do so “if they fear that fasting could lead to weakening their immunity or to losing their patients.”
It said Muslims should comply with physical distancing while praying during Ramadan and the Eid Al-Fitr holiday that marks its end. The UAE has suspended prayer in all houses of worship including mosques as part of containment measures.
“Congregating to perform the prayer could endanger lives, an act that is strictly forbidden in Islam,” said the statement.
The UAE, the region’s business hub, has recorded 6,781 infections with 41 deaths. Muslims should comply with physical distancing while praying during Ramadan and the Eid Al-Fitr holiday
Several Gulf Arab states have suspended passenger flights, imposed curfews and closed most public venues. Some Gulf governments are trying to arrange repatriation flights for expatriates who have lost jobs or been put on leave.