Ramadan 2022: UAE relaxes Covid rules for worshippers

People will be able to enjoy the most 'normal' holy month in three years

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: N/A. News. Covid-19/Coronavirus. Midday prayers are performed at Al Farooq Omar Bin Al Khattab Mosque in Dubai. Wednesday, July 1st, 2020. Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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The UAE has relaxed a series of Covid-19 rules for worshippers ahead of Ramadan.

Prayer times have returned to normal, daily mosque lessons and lectures can resume, and drinking water can be distributed to worshippers once it is bottled, the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (Ncema) said on Wednesday.

The taraweeh prayers — night prayers performed during Ramadan — can now be held in mosques again and during the last 10 nights of Ramadan, tahajjud prayers will also be held from midnight onwards at mosques.

Copies of the Quran can now be provided in mosques again once they are sterilised and women's prayer halls have returned to normal.

Ncema also said worshippers can pray in a straight line again rather than the ziz-zag format introduced during the pandemic, meaning more can attend the mosque.

Certain rules remain, however, such as mandatory wearing of masks indoors and physical distancing of one metre.

No more than 45 minutes is allocated for the tahajjud prayer during the last 10 days of Ramadan, Ncema said.

The authority said it would continually monitor the situation and reserved the right to make changes. This will be the first time since 2020 — when the pandemic swept through the world — that worshippers can enjoy a regular Ramadan with iftar tents also allowed.

During the pandemic, the gap between the call to prayer and the prayer was about 5 to 10 minutes to prevent gatherings. The return to regular times means a degree of normality has resumed.

It also comes as the UAE cautiously emerges from the pandemic with Covid-19 cases declining.

The UAE reported 288 new cases on Wednesday, while the number of active cases in the country has dropped to 21,813.

No deaths have been reported since March 7 and the overall toll is 2,302.

The UAE has carried out more than 147 million tests since the pandemic began.

Mass Covid-19 screening and an extensive vaccination campaign have helped the UAE to bring down infection rates and limit the spread of the virus.

Nearly 24.5 million vaccine doses have been administered and 97.1 per cent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.

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Updated: March 31, 2022, 5:30 AM