Dubai: This Ramadan, share meals with your family members, but don’t share your plates. That is a safety tip that Dubai Municipality wants residents to follow during the second Ramadan amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Authorities had earlier banned people from attending Ramadan gatherings and restricted iftar and suhoor to members of the same family. Not sharing plates with family members was among the Ramadan safety tips that were shared by the civic body on social media.
Dr Mohammed Salman Khan, GP, general medicine with Aster Clinic, Al Qusais, said the advice is a precautionary measure to avoid exposure to COVID-19 within households in the early days of infection when patients could be asymptomatic. “One might get exposed to the virus after going out for work or shopping or any other purpose. In the early period of the infection, nobody knows you are infected. You might be having the virus in your nostrils and you might have touched it and then you also touch the plates that you are sharing with the family members,” he explained.
Bigger plates, bigger risks
The traditional custom of having big family meals from large plates and pots together, especially during iftars, can pose a risk in such a scenario, he pointed out. “This practice is a strict no during the COVID-19 pandemic as you are putting your hands in the same plate shared by different family members. If anybody is infected, there is a higher chance of the virus spreading to the whole family through this habit.”
Families should keep separate plates, glasses and spoons marked for each members and wash them with soap after each use, said Dr Mohammed. “They can also go for disposable plates,” he added.
The municipality shared the additional safety tips in the first episode of its ‘Virtual Ramadan Tent’ initiative where social and educational topics of interest to Dubai families would be discussed every Saturday during Ramadan.
Residents have been urged to avoid crowded family gatherings, reduce their shopping visits and not to buy more than what they need. They have also been asked to always wash or disinfect hands to ensure their safety, apart from wearing masks. “Your Ramadan daily routine should follow a healthy guideline. For everyone’s safety, make sure you commit to it. Learn about the most essential tips to make your routine safe and healthy during Ramadan,” the Municipality stated while sharing the safety tips.
Safe shopping tips
The municipality has also shared tips for safe shopping. “Shop safely during Ramadan to maintain the quality and safety of food products and ensure everyone’s health,” it said while posting some essential tips for safe shopping during Ramadan.
Residents have been urged to keep the following points in mind for ensuring food safety.
Make a shopping list in advance.
Shop from a store close to home to maintain food safety and quality.
Purchase canned foods and dry foods first.
Go for fresh and chilled products such as fruits and vegetables after that.
Buy meat and eggs in the end.
Don’t forget to separate the products from each other in shopping cart to prevent cross-contamination from raw food items.
The municipality has also announced a weekly social media contest titled #StayHealthyInRamadan. Taking place on Dubai Municipality’s Instagram account, the contest will offer prizes from the nearest Choithrams to [select] people who share correct answers in comments, the civic body said in a tweet.
The civic body also monitors precautionary measures at food establishments during Ramadan to ensure the safety of materials and devices, hygiene procedures, preparation process, packaging, preserving and transporting meals in delivery cars and motorcycles.