Shiite pilgrims gather during the religious festival of Ashura in the holy city of Kerbala, Iraq September 10, 2019. Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia have allowed their Shiite citizens to hold the commemoration of Ashura ceremonies amid health protocols set by the authorities concerned while Bahrain suspended these ceremonies in mosques and Hussainiyat (congregation halls for Shiite commemoration ceremonies), and limited them to being held remotely, and to broadcast them live on TV, to stem the spread of COVID-19, local media reported.

The Day of Ashura or Muharram 10, 2020 is expected to fall on August 28 and 29 (Muharram 9 and 10, respectively).

Ashura ceremonies mark the death in battle of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

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In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health has set the regulations for attending mourning councils in Hussainiyat, including shortening the time of the gatherings to 15 minutes, limiting entry to men between 15 and 60 years old without any chronic diseases, and the obligation to wear masks, physical distance of not less than one and a half metres, and temperature checks.

In Oman, too, the directives stipulated allowing the revival of Ashura ceremonies with the necessary health precautions.

In Saudi Arabia, authorities have allowed Shiite citizens to perform their religious rites according to a regulation that prevents the spread of the killer bug among the attendees.

Authorities in the Eastern Province informed the mosque and Hussainiyat officials of the instructions that limit the gathering of more than 50 people, and the prevention of gatherings outside these places, with a commitment to wearing masks and physical distancing.

On the other hand, most of the Saudi Shiite citizens will witness the Ashura ceremony via live broadcasts, to limit the spread of COVID-19.