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Egypt bans Ramadan gatherings, public iftars – reports

Egypt bans Ramadan gatherings, public iftars – reports

The committee of scholars at Cairo’s al-Azhar university added that people should still fast as the ritual had no link to coronavirus

Egypt will ban any public religious gatherings during the month of Ramadan beginning in around two weeks as a precautionary measure to counter the spread of the Covid-19 virus, a government statement said on Tuesday, reported Reuters.

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 had last month ordered mosques and churches to shut their doors to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus, with prayer calls broadcast via loudspeakers.

Read: Dubai’s Islamic Affairs department to sterilise 800 mosques

The committee of scholars at Cairo’s al-Azhar university, Egypt’s highest religious authority, added that people should still fast as the ritual had no link to coronavirus.

The statement said that the usual exemptions apply, and that travel or sickness are reasons not to fast.

A Reuters tally suggested that Egypt, a country with a population of around 100 million people, has reported more than 1,300 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 250 deaths.

A statement by the ministry of Islamic endowments stated that Egypt would ban any gatherings and public iftars as well as collective social activities in line with the recommendations of social-distancing by health experts.

The holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin on Friday, April 24 this year, according to astronomers. Meanwhile, the start of the month of Shawaal, which marks Eid Al Fitr, is predicted to fall on Sunday, May 24, 2020.

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