Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee in collaboration with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, has approved general preventive measures during the Holy Month of Ramadan in Abu Dhabi, to protect public health and preserve the safety of all members of society.

The measures include the mandatory wearing of face masks in public, especially near individuals from vulnerable groups; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth before washing hands; and covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and disposing of it immediately after use.

It also includes regularly sanitising hands with an alcohol-based disinfectant or washing well with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched items and surfaces, and keeping a physical distance of at least two metres.

The committee has approved measures related to religious practices, including recommending that COVID-19 patients should consult with a doctor before fasting group Iftar and Suhur gatherings should be limited to family members who live in the same house.

Iftar meal donations are allowed through online distribution platforms, it stated, adding that offering and distributing meals in public areas, including in front of homes, mosques and restaurants, is prohibited, except by authorised entities.

The measures also include allowing congregational prayers in mosques for men per precautionary measures, with the duration of Isha and Tarawih prayers not exceeding 30 minutes.

Zakat and alms donations can be done online through websites of various charities, while religious studies lectures and Holy Quran recital sessions are also to be offered online.

The committee approved measures related to social activities including that Ramadan greetings and wishes are to be extended through online communication platforms instead of physical gatherings or attending majlis. Family and friends should gather virtually during Ramadan nights instead of physically at gatherings or at home visits.

It has declared that individuals and entities are prohibited from setting up Ramadan Iftar tents, while mass gatherings, home visits, and setting up other Ramadan tents, whether by entities or individuals, are also prohibited.

The measures also encourage ordering essential Ramadan items online to avoid going to crowded markets and shopping centres, while distributing and exchanging meals between neighbours, families and friends is prohibited. Individuals from the most vulnerable groups should reduce their interactions with others by avoiding gatherings and unnecessary outings, and Ramadan night gatherings in majlises should also be avoided.

Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee has stated that intensified inspection and monitoring campaigns will be conducted to ensure compliance with precautionary measures, with violators reported to the Attorney-General.

The risk of infection increases with increased and prolonged interactions with others, it added.

The committee has also approved measures for shopping during Ramadan, including minimising visits to grocery stores and other shops to buy essential household items, and, if it is necessary to shop in-person, avoid peak hours. "Opt to shop online for basic items such as groceries, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, etc.," it advised.

"If shopping in person, carefully disinfect the handles of shopping trolleys and do not touch products that you won’t purchase. Use disinfectant wipes to clean items bought after arriving at home, and carefully wash fruits and vegetables," it went on to say.

The measures also state that is it safer to choose to pay electronically, whether by card or through mobile payment apps and to choose to use escalators or stairs whenever possible, instead of elevators. Individuals from the most vulnerable groups, such as senior citizens and those with chronic diseases, should avoid going shopping.

"Contribute to reducing the spread of infection and raise awareness among your family members about these measures," the committee concluded.