As Pakistan suffers from the 4th wave of COVID-19, amidst the rapid spread of the Delta variant, the Government of Pakistan has released SOPs and guidelines to consider during the month of Muharram for religious and social gatherings. A breakdown of these SOPs and guidelines are mentioned below.
COVID-19 Precautions During Social and Religious Gatherings
Social and religious activities linked with the month of Muharram include religious processions, public and private gatherings. Not adhering to SOPs and precautions, during these activities can accelerate spread of COVID-19. See the list of precautions below to avoid the risk of infection.
1. General Precautions
- Avoid crowded markets and keep the shopping to essentials.
- Social distancing should be practiced by strictly always maintaining a distance of at least 1 meter between people during religious gatherings.
- Hand hygiene should be maintained and encouraged. Wash your hands frequently and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Vaccination must be encouraged among your family and friends. Only vaccinated people should attend social and religious gatherings.
2. Precautions for High-risk groups
- People who are unwell or have any symptoms of COVID-19 should avoid attending Majalis and isolate themselves.
- People aged 60 years and older and anyone with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease, chronic lung disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, immunosuppression, and cancer) should not attend religious or social gatherings, as they are at a higher risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19.
3. SOPs and Guidelines for Majalis
- Venues for Majalis should be in open areas with sufficient ventilation.
- Face masks should be used by every attendee to cover their face and mouth.
- Worshippers should bring their own prayer mat /Janamaz.
- No carpets or mats should be used in mosques.
- In case of Majalis on floors, proper disinfection should be carried out before the event.
- Close physical contact, holding and shaking hands and hugging should be avoided as it increases the possibility of spreading the infection.
- Water dispensers and coolers should not be used.
- For ventilation, windows and doors of the mosque should be kept open.
- Sick, elderly, and children under 15 years of age should avoid attending Muharram gatherings.
- Minimal socializing after gatherings should be done with SOPs in mind.
- Health desks should be established at venues to segregate with COVID-19 symptoms.
- Capacity of religious gatherings should be calculated and maintained in advance keeping in view the Government provided SOPs.
- Venues where adherence to SOPs is not implemented should be avoided.
- Tabarruk should only be distributed in disposable packaging.
4. Preventive Measures at Muharram Processions
- Focus on essential rituals only and avoid any prolonged activities during processions.
- Every individual present in the procession must always wear face masks.
- Azadaars and other participants must not shake hands during the procession.
- Anyone suffering from fever, cough, sore throat, or flu-like symptoms should not participate in the procession.
- Hands should be properly sanitized before and after visiting processions.
- Unnecessary touching of surfaces at the Muharram procession should be avoided.
- Avoid touching, kissing, hugging devotional objects (Zuljinah, Alam, Tazia, Shabeeh) with emphasis on distant ziarat.
- Sick, elderly, and children under 15 years of age should avoid attending Muharram processions.
- Organizers and security personnel on duty at the procession should strictly adhere to COVID-19 SOPs.
- Overcrowding must be avoided at food/drinks distribution points along the route of Muharram processions.
Sehat Tahaffuz Helpline
You can visit the Government of Pakistan COVID-19 Health Advisory Platform to get updates on COVID-19 during the month of Muharram. You can also call the Sehat Tahaffuz Helpline at 1166.
To receive personalized guidance on different service options in the country, including religious festivals, social gatherings and events, you can send us a private message on the Bolo Facebook Page.