Muslims are being encouraged to continue to get vaccinated, take coronavirus tests and wear masks where possible as they celebrate Eid next week, when many coronavirus restrictions will also be lifted
Charities and health bodies have called for caution ahead of the Islamic celebration, which is due to start early next week, dependent on sightings of the moon.
It coincides with the lifting of most legal restrictions in England on Monday.
Muslims typically mark the festival by visiting mosques for special prayers, and sharing meals with family and friends.
But as cases rise and restrictions are further eased, they are being urged to celebrate in a limited way.
Dr Hina Shahid, chairwoman of the Muslim Doctors Association, said: “I encourage everyone to get vaccinated so they can feel safer celebrating Eid with their loved ones.
“Both indoor and outdoor celebrations could potentially impact Muslim families and individuals so I would urge that Eid ul Adha celebrations are again limited, the last thing we want is for festivities to become super spreader events.
“There remain increased risks from Covid-19 infection in the community and in light of evidence of increasing transmission, there needs to be a sensible approach in celebrations, minimising risks to vulnerable people, continuing with hand and respiratory hygiene and wearing face masks in crowded places.”
Dr Habib Naqvi, director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, said keeping well throughout the celebrations will mean “adapting usual religious and cultural practices”.
He continued: “This is particularly important for protecting vulnerable people who are shielding because of underlying health conditions as well as family, friends and carers of those who are most vulnerable.
“Asian and black communities remain particularly vulnerable and disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 virus.
“The wide mixing of households and people of all ages, without restrictions, means this risk sadly remains.”
Islamic Relief called for worshippers to be mindful of the daily rising cases and adhere to guidelines suggested by the Muslim Council of Britain.
This “ideally means avoiding hugging, resisting praying shoulder to shoulder and wearing a mask where possible”, said charity director Tufail Hussain.
He added: “We know that a lot of Muslim families live with elderly parents or grandparents so it is important we keep them in our thoughts when attending Eid celebrations throughout the week, especially if we are planning on attending larger-scale events, where there might be a higher chance of catching Covid.”
England could see the hottest day of the year this weekend as the skies finally clear after weeks of wet and humid weather. Many parts of the UK could be in for a mini-heat wave – defined as a period of three days or more above a certain threshold. The balmy weather, driven by a blast of warm air coming in from the Azores in the North Atlantic, has prompted […]