During this period, Muslim families are likely to be at home together, which may increase the risk of infection spreading both within the family and in the wider community.
Dr Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, has requested the cooperation of Muslims during Ramadan and issued the following advice:
• Avoid greeting people by touching hands, embracing, and touching cheeks. Raise hands instead.
• Refrain from attending Friday prayers at the mosque and strictly follow the announcements of the Chularatchamontri (Muslim spiritual leader) in Thailand regarding measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by performing religious duties at home
• Avoid eating together and refrain from sharing food with one another. If necessary, sit at least one or two metres apart and do not eat from a tray (buffet). Meals should be served on individual dishes with their own cutlery and glass. Importantly, wash hands thoroughly before eating.
• Avoid attending large gatherings. If attendance is unavoidable, keep at least one or two metres apart. Wear a cloth or medical mask and wash hands with soap and water or alcohol gel.
• In the event that it is necessary to carry out religious activities in the mosque, it is recommended that windows and curtains are left open for ventilation. Turn of air conditioners and screen everyone before entering the mosque. Those people found to have a fever (temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius), cough or sore throat must refrain from attending mosque and should stay at home and observe their symptoms.
• If you visit at-risk places or have personal contact with others outside, it is recommended that you shower, wash hair and change clothes as soon as you return home.
• Choose healthy food and drink plenty of clean water. In addition to obeying fasting guidelines, this also helps the body to stay hydrated in hot weather.
Dr Suwanchai added that the elderly and people with chronic illnesses should stay at home to perform religious activities, as stepping outside would risk contracting Covid-19 and becoming severely ill or even dying.