Jeddah: Gulf countries have initiated stringent measures to combat the spread of coronavirus as Eid al Adha, also known as Bakrid, began. The Grand Mosque in Mecca remained closed for visitors on Eid on Friday, and gatherings and other celebrations were prohibited across the region.
Saudi Arabia shut down all Musallahs, temporary idgah, in the country and Eid prayers were held in mosques by maintaining social distancing. The United Arab Emirates also closed all mosques and public prayer venues on Friday, the first day of Eid. The mosques for public remained closed in Bahrain and Oman while Qatar and Kuwait mosques opened with some precautionary measures.
In Jeddah and other major cities of Saudi Arabia, security forces have been enforced the ban on Eid gatherings. In Dubai, police deployed drones at beach sites to keep vigil on gatherings.
Oman has imposed strict restrictions on gatherings and movement of people during Eid holidays including travel ban within the country. The country is witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases.
As a precautionary measure, countries in the Arabian Gulf have urged the public to follow various health guidelines, with some taking a stricter approach by imposing a lockdown and banning large gatherings. Sending virtual Eid greetings to friends and family and performing prayers at home became a trend in the Gulf region.
With authorities advising physical distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, followers of Islam have adapted to the new reality, starting with a socially distanced Eid al Fitr in May.
Usually, worshippers gather in packed mosques on the first day of Eid to offer early morning prayers but, this year, they have been urged to pray at home and avoid gatherings.
“We used to gather over a hundred people to celebrate Eid for two days but this year only five persons met for celebration”, said Muzaffer Shaikh, Telangana social activist in Dubai.
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