Egypt to ban Ramadan gatherings amid coronavirus pandemic

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Muslims break their fast at sunset and usually go to mosque to pray together with their families

Egypt is set to ban all public religious gatherings during the fasting month of Ramadan which begins in about two weeks, to curb the spread of coronavirus, a government statement said on Tuesday.

Muslims break their fast at sunset with their families after which, they go to mosque to pray .

But with health experts recommending social distancing measures during the global coronavirus crisis, Egypt will ban all gatherings- public iftars or fast-breaking meals and collective social activities, the Ministry of Islamic Endowments said.

Typically, mass iftars are held for poor people.

The ban will also apply to the seclusion of Itikaf when Muslims spend the last 10 days of the month in mosques to pray and meditate, the ministry said.

Egypt has reported more than 1,300 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with more than 250 deaths.

Egypt is home to about 100 million people and also the seat of the al-Azhar University, Egypt’s highest religious authority and one of the world’s most eminent seats of Sunni Muslim learning.

Ramadan will start around April 23 depending on the sighting of the moon which marks the beginning of the month.

Egypt last month, ordered mosques and churches to shut their doors to worshippers.

Prayer calls are broadcast via loudspeakers.

 

Olajumoke Adeleke