The government has urged all Muslim devotees to avoid Eidgahs and other open places for Eid congregations and offer prayers at mosques complying with coronavirus health guidelines.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs issued an emergency notification in this regard on Monday, saying the decision was due to the Covid-induced adverse situation.
“Even though Islami Sharia encourages offering Eid prayers at Eidgahs or open places, devotees are requested to say their prayers at nearby mosques due to the prevailing coronavirus situation in the country,” the notification said.
However, the directive was issued without any consultation with the national technical advisory committee on Covid-19, claimed Professor Nazrul Islam, a member of the committee.
The noted virologist also opposed the ministry’s instruction.
“It will be tough to maintain social distancing if the Eid prayers are offered in mosques. Maintaining the health guidelines is much easier at open places or Eidgahs,” he said, adding that the committee will later disclose its decision in this regard.
In the notification, the ministry also suggested disinfecting mosques before the Eid prayer and not rolling out carpets on the floor. Devotees are encouraged to bring their own prayer mats from home.
Aside from that, there must be arrangements for soap or hand sanitisers at entrances and where devotees perform ablution.
Again, all are encouraged to perform their ablution at home before going to the mosque.
Devotees must wear masks inside the mosques and avoid using the mosque’s prayer mats and caps.
Children, elderly people, people with physical ailments, and others involved in taking care of the sick should not and will not be allowed to attend Eid prayers.
Apart from that, devotees are requested to avoid handshaking and hugging after the prayer so that the virus cannot spread from one another.
According to the notification, imams and managing committee members are to ensure proper enforcement of the directives at mosques.
In case of a breach in directives, local administration and law enforcement agencies will take legal action against those responsible.
This is going to be the second Eid-ul-Fitr to be celebrated under pandemic restrictions.
Currently, the second wave of Covid-19 is taking a toll on Bangladesh and several other South Asian nations.
India has been hit the hardest in the second wave. Coronavirus fatalities and infections have peaked there recently.
On Monday, Bangladesh reported 97 more deaths from Covid-19 and 3,306 new cases in the last 24 hours till 8am.
The infection rate fell to 12.82%, and the total Covid-19 caseload reached 7,48,628 in the country on the day.
Bangladesh reported 2,922 single day Covid-19 cases on Sunday, with an infection rate of 13.33%.