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23 April 2020
A local GP is urging Muslims across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes to remember the government’s guidance on social distancing during the holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community. And although the lockdown will afford the opportunity for quiet reflection and spiritual growth, the strong social element associated with Ramadan must be avoided.
Dr Uzma Sawar says: “I appeal to the Muslim community to please stay at home and not congregate at places of worship or visit family or friends during Ramadan.
"Daily prayers and the breaking of the fast at the end of each day are traditionally celebrated with friends and family. But the government’s emergency measures mean that this year Muslims should only observe these religious and social rites with members of their own households.
“Anyone can spread coronavirus, so by staying home you will be helping to protect the NHS and save lives.”
You can only leave your home:
Dr Sawar also says fasting is not advisable for those who are self-isolating because they are unwell with symptoms of coronavirus or recovering from the disease.
“Anyone displaying symptoms or convalescing after having the virus should eat and drink normally as this will aid their recovery.”
Others who are exempt from fasting are those who have a serious medical condition, such as diabetes, and pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers. It is also important for people taking a prescribed oral medication to continue to do so.
Dr Sawar says: “Abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours throughout Ramadan is an important part of the Muslim faith, but must not be undertaken if it’s going to endanger your health. To seek more guidance about this, you can speak to your Iman.”