UAE updates Covid-19 safety protocols for places of worship

Imams and cleaners at places of worship must be vaccinated and take a PCR test every 14 days

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Imams at mosques should be vaccinated against Covid-19 and take a PCR test every 14 days under Covid-19 safety protocols announced on Tuesday.

Cleaners operating at mosques and chapels are also subject to the vaccination and testing rules.

Ablution and washrooms at places of worship must be disinfected and sterilised before each prayer as part of the increased hygiene measures.

Mosques and chapels must provide cleaners at all times, while worshippers must sanitise their hands after ablutions.

Ablution areas and toilets must be cleaned, disinfected and sterilised after each use.

The directives were issued by the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority in tandem with the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments.

"We also point out that imams and cleaners take vaccinations and a periodic PCR examination every 14 days with the adoption of the Al Hosn application, in addition to disclosing when feeling respiratory symptoms or fever and avoiding attending the mosque," said Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, spokesman for the authority.

He said the UAE was moving towards herd immunity and was on the "right track towards recovery" thanks to a high vaccination rate and the robust response of authorities to the pandemic.

As of Tuesday, 98.66 per cent of the population had received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, while 88.57 per cent have had two doses.

Public urged to remain vigilant

A successful inoculation drive, mass testing of the public and support for safety measures such as mask wearing and physical distancing have been considered key to a steady decline in case numbers in the second half of the year.

Daily infection rates have remained below 100 since October 21, having peaked at close to 4,000 in early February.

But officials have told the public not to become complacent and to abide by safety measures during a busy end to the year, which includes the UAE's Golden Jubilee celebrations, as well as Christmas and New Year.

"The societal role during the current stage is essential to ensure a return to a new normal life, and today we commend the efforts of the public," Dr Al Dhaheri said.

He emphasised the importance of adhering to safety measures "in light of the gradual opening up and the season of official events and celebrations".

"Maintaining your safety and health is a top priority of our wise leadership," he said.

Updated: November 09, 2021, 3:04 PM