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Stay in touch but do it safely plea for Ramadan

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The Islamic holy month of Ramadan starts today – and Muslims living in the borough are being urged to use social media and video chats to stay in touch instead of meeting in person.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has published guidelines on how to celebrate Ramadan during the unprecedented times of coronavirus lockdown.

During Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink between dawn and sunset. But with mosques currently closed, there will no meetings for prayers or acts of worship.

And the MCB has urged Muslims to look to virtual technology instead of meeting friends and family for iftars – a huge ritual meal to mark the breaking of the fast after sunset. Advice is available on how to arrange “virtual iftars” online with family, friends and other members of the community using video chat.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:

We’re fully aware there is a strong social element to Ramadan, and that it traditionally sees regular gatherings to celebrate and reaffirm the Muslim faith.
We still want people to celebrate Ramadan as fully as they are able to safely do so, and we would urge residents to follow the very sensible guidelines issued by the Muslim Council for Britain.
With all the fantastic technology we have available at our fingertips nowadays, it is very easy to stay in touch without having to physically meet.
Reducing day-to-day contact with other people is the best way to stop the spread of coronavirus, and to help save lives.

Dr David Hegarty, chair of Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

It is important that people take care of their health during Ramadan.
Whilst we want people to benefit from the blessings of this period, given the current COVID19 pandemic my advice is to maintain a healthy diet during Sahoor and Iftar.
Stay at home and only go out if it is absolutely necessary. Stay safe, keep others safe and help to protect our NHS.
If you are diabetic and using insulin, please consult your doctor or diabetes specialist nurse before deciding on fasting.
If you take regular medication, speak to your doctor or pharmacist about changing your regime to suit the needs of Ramadan. GP Practices are there for you if you need help and advice during this period.

The social distancing measures require people to stay at home as much as possible and only leave the house:

  • To shop for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • For one form of exercise a day, for instance a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of their household.
  • For any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • To travel to and from work, but only where work cannot be done from home, or to take children to and from school if parents are classed as 'critical workers'.

When out in public, people must stay two metres – or six feet – away from other people at all times, unless they are members of the same household. All social events, including religious ceremonies, have been stopped.

These measures should be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for people or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.

For guidance on celebrating Ramadan safely, go to https://mcb.org.uk/resources/ramadan/

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at www.dudley.gov.uk/coronavirus. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

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