Socially distant Eid in lockdown across Gulf countries

Dubai, May 23 (PTI) Millions of Muslims across Gulf nations, including a large number of Indian expatriates, will celebrate Eid al-Fitr, that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramzan, on Sunday inside their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Authorities in these nations on Saturday evening announced citing of the moon that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramzan and wished people on the blessed occasion.

However, they also continued to impose a lockdown which prohibits public gathering, religious congregations and even social engagements.

The Arab states of the Persian Gulf include Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Addressing the country on the occasion, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz said his country has taken “precautionary, preventive and remedial measures” to safeguard public health and said he would appreciate people celebrating Eid while they “stay at home and remain aware and responsible about social distancing measures.” Oman’s Ministry of Religious and Endowment Affairs (MERA) also declared that Sunday, May 24, will be the first day of Eid Al Fitr in the Sultanate. In the UAE, the Moon-sighting Committee declared that Saturday (May 23) is the last day of Ramzan and that Sunday, the 24th of May, is the first day of Eid al-Fitr.

The Moon Sighting Committee in Bahrain had announced on Friday that Saturday would be the last day of the blessed month of Ramzan this year and Sunday the first day of Shawwal, the month following Ramzan.

The flurry activities in marketplaces that are usually associated with Eid festivities have been missing as a result of the lockdown. A large number of people confined to homes have also chosen to donate money to charities and the needy instead of spending them on Eid shopping.

The number of coronavirus cases is continuously being reported from across the Gulf region and authorities are taking all measures people to contain its spread among the population. A larger number of Indians stranded in the region are also being sent home in a coordinated manner.

Saudi Arabia is the most affected country in the Gulf, with more than 67,000 confirmed coronavirus infections and 364 deaths from COVID. PTI Corr NSA