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NCEMA urged residents to follow COVID-19 protocol during Eid Al Adha holidays. Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi:  Abu Dhabi: Mosques across the country will open their doors to allow worshippers to perform Eid Al Adha prayers, with COVID-19 precautionary measures are in place, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) said on Tuesday.

The sermon is limited to 15 minutes while mosques and musallahs will open 15 minutes before the Eid prayer and close immediately after.

The traditional practice of handshaking and hugs before and after the prayer is prohibited. Worshippers are not allowed to gather at the places of worship before or after the prayer, Taher Al Ameri, the official spokesperson for NCEMA, said during the weekly media briefing.

According to the Eid protocols, elderly people and those with chronic diseases and children under the age of 12 are advised to offer the Eid prayer at home.

Worshippers shall bring their own rugs. Those infected with COVID-19, or have close contacts with infected ones, are strictly barred from attending the prayers.

UAE residents have been urged to avoid family visits and gatherings during the Eid holidays. “Celebrations must be restricted to members of the same family who live in the same house,” the spokesperson said.

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Al Ameri praised the conscience of all community segments in the UAE. He quoted His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as saying: “We bet on the high level of awareness demonstrated by the Emirati society during the crisis and its role in implementing the new requirements imposed by the new reality of life after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The positive initiative of the health sector in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is in accordance with an integrated national strategy that contributed to ensuring the health and safety of society.

The NCEMA spokesperson said: “The UAE is pressing ahead towards sustainable recovery. Today, we see the gradual return of activities to normality.”

He said the opening comes in line with a comprehensive strategy and as a fruition of tremendous efforts by various vital sectors.

“It is imperative to strengthen the concept of openness and the post-COVID-19 new life,” Al Ameri added.

During the media briefing, Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson of the UAE health sector, said the country saw a significant increase in daily reported COVID-19 infections and deaths after the last three holidays, referring to figures registered during Eid Al Fitr break in May, New Year’s Eve celebrations and Eid Al Adha last year.

She said average daily cases increased by a whopping 500 per cent to reach 1,400 during the Eid Al Adha holidays last year, while the average daily cases increased by 200 per cent following the New Year’s Eve celebrations and daily fatalities caused jumped by 300 per cent.

After Eid Al Fitr in May this year, the average daily cases reported was 2,000 — an increase of 60 per cent. Daily deaths increased by 100 per cent to reach six fatalities.

Dr Farida said the gloomy figures underline that safety is a shared responsibility.

“Everyone’s commitment to safety and preventive measures, especially during festive seasons, will contribute significantly to reducing infection and death rates,” she added.