SOME Eid Al Adha customs and traditions should be “temporarily abandoned” to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the Health Minister said yesterday.
Faeqa Al Saleh, in a statement, emphasised the need to refrain from family gatherings to avoid a surge in cases witnessed by the country soon after Eid Al Fitr.
Eid Al Adha is expected to commence later this weekend with the country going into a five-day holiday. Among the traditions are families gathering under a roof and sharing food and gifts.
“Avoid gatherings during Eid Al Adha and limit them to one family,” Ms Saleh said.
“The Health Ministry in co-ordination with all parties concerned is continuing its efforts to tackle the virus, to contribute to preserving the health and safety of citizens and residents in Bahrain.
“Everyone’s commitment to responsibility is an important pillar for the success of all our plans as it complements the efforts and decisions.”
She stressed that it’s the national duty of every individual to protect himself, his family and his community.
Bahrain witnessed a spike in Covid-19 cases during the end of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr holidays, which officials said was a result of “reckless non-compliance” with health and safety guidelines.
National Taskforce for Combating Coronavirus member Lt Col Dr Manaf Al Qahtani had cited an increase of nearly 1,000 cases between May 25 and June 1 – the period covering end of Ramadan and Eid.
He said it was “due to the high numbers of contacts”.
“Social visits and gatherings for customs and traditions pose a threat to public health in the current situation, and may significantly increase the transmission and spread of the virus,” Ms Al Saleh said.
The minister also stressed the importance of wearing masks, practising social distancing and continuing disinfection regularly to preserve the health and safety of citizens and residents, especially the elderly and those who suffer from underlying health
Bahrain’s experience in responding to the pandemic and the preparations it made were in accordance with the highest standards and efficiency, she said.
“This contributed to making the kingdom a distinct model to enhance the health and safety of all.
“The society must co-operate to preserve what we gained through partnership with the task force and help us in tackling the pandemic and to achieve the goals of the national campaign to combat Covid 19.”
Royal Bahrain Hospital pulmonologist Dr Maria Teresa also warned against festive gatherings as families find it difficult to practise social distancing during such occasions.
“When families gather during such joyous occasions, not all may wear a mask. They may shake hands or even embrace each
other,” she explained.
“There may be asymptomatic carriers and they could infect one or others who could spread it in the community.
“Moreover, there are elderly in these families who are at high risk due to exposure.
“We see a possible spike of cases during Eid, if people don’t take the public guidelines seriously.”