Srinagar: With Ramadan around the corner, health experts in Kashmir have impressed upon the religious leaders to play a proactive role in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19.
On Wednesday, World Health Organization (WHO) also asked people to celebrate their faiths safely and protect each other from COVID-19.
“With important religious events taking place this month – like #PiMai #Easter and #Ramadan – it is essential that we celebrate our faiths safely and protect each other from #COVID19,” tweeted WHO’s Western Pacific wing.
Here in Kashmir, people make it a point to attend the congregational prayers in Mosques during Ramadan.
However, with the threat of coronavirus looming large, the health experts have asked faith leaders to play a major role in saving lives and reducing illness related to COVID-19.
“Ramadan is the time when a lot of people flock mosques and gather for the congregational prayers. This time, we can’t continue the same way as we are under the onslaught of a deadly virus,” Dr Khawar Khan Achakzai, Registrar SMHS Hospital said.
He noted that the faith leaders including moulvis and moulanas should educate the masses on the pandemic and prevent them from assembling at the mosque for both voluntary as well as obligatory prayers.
“The leaders are a primary source of support and comfort for their members. Often trusted more than governments or health-agencies, faith leaders can share health information to protect their communities that will be more likely to be accepted than from other sources,” Dr Achakzai said.
Seconding him, a senior medico at SMHS Hospital, Srinagar said the mohalla committes should be roped in to limit the disease from spreading.
“Further, the people should curtail on shopping and thronging the markets in Ramadan. There are options for home delivery offered by the government, which can be opted to avoid going outdoors,” he said.
He noted that there is no evidence which shows that fasting can weaken the immune system.
“However, people should take a lot of citrus fruits during Iftaar and Suhoor as it boosts the immunity. Also, the people with underlying health disorders like diabetes and thyroid should take their medication properly at Iftaar and Suhoor,” he said.