By Gavin Gibbon
Spokesperson Dr. Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi says ignoring social distancing guidelines could see hundreds and thousands of new cases
Muslims in the UAE have been urged to sacrifice their traditions ahead of the annual Eid Al Fitr celebrations and adhere to strict social distancing rules to mitigate the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus.
As the holy month of Ramadan approaches its close this weekend, the time would usually see great celebrations and festivities with families and friends.
However, Dr. Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, official spokesperson of the UAE Government, has warned that it remains important to avoid gatherings to contain the spread of coronavirus.
She said: “We understand the importance of socialising and meeting family and friends during Eid, but due to the exceptional circumstances, let's share the sense of responsibility for everyone's safety.
"Let's give up some of our traditions this year, I am sure there will be many more Eids for us to get together again. We have no excuse to be careless or not to adhere to preventive measures. It is now every individual and every family's responsibility. Any irresponsible behaviour should be abandoned.”
Highlighting the dangers of attending large gatherings, she said: "Imagine a UAE family deciding to continue their yearly custom of gathering on the first day of Eid or visiting the grandfather's house to spend this happy occasion with other relatives and meeting with brothers, sisters, children and old elderly people with pre-existing conditions.
“Imagine that one of the family members is unaware that he or she contracted coronavirus from a contact and showed no symptoms. This person would congratulate his or her grandfather and exchange Eid greetings with the rest of the family members, spend the whole day with them without taking the necessary preventive measures, passing on the infection to the family.
“By the end of the day, each family will go back to their home, without knowing that they are infected now, and may be one of them will decide to cap this with visiting friends and another goes back to work after Eid holidays.”
As a result she issued the start warning that the number of cases could rise to hundreds and, ultimately, multiply further into the thousands.
“The condition of people with chronic diseases and the elderly could worsen, just because a few people did not adhere to the social distancing rules and other preventive measures and ignored the most important principles of prevention, maintaining a safe distance and avoiding gatherings,” she added.
The UAE currently has 22,627 confirmed cases of Covid-19, which includes those receiving treatment, recovered cases and deaths. The death toll in the country stands at 214.