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Qurbani Health Measures Amidst COVID-19

By Rukhsana Shaheen
27th-Jul-2020       
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Eid-ul-Adha is an Islamic festival to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) to follow Allah's (SWT) command to sacrifice his (Ibrahim) son. Qurbani is a festivity related with Eid-ul-Adha. Before, during and after Qurbani, some public health measures need to be followed in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic for the safety of self, family, near kin, neighbors, and society at large. The first step is to limit movement of people on the event of Eid-ul-Adha.
It is advisable to avoid or restrict import of livestock for qurbani, as the livestock may be the source of exotic coronavirus that is in its sylvatic cycle. For buying animal(s) for qurbani from haat, it is encouraged to avail 'full qurbani service' by online trained service providers (Bengal meat, daraz.com, Sheba.xyz, bikroy.com…) taking the concept of handling of sacrifice during Hajj by Saudi Arabia government.
Alternatively, open space haat outside city may be set up where the haat space is enough to favor social distancing of minimum 3 feet among buyers and sellers. The number of buyers and sellers allowed to enter the haat may be kept limited. For the sake of better management, one entry and one exit may be maintained where disinfection boxes or points, and facilities for hand washing with soap and waterhave to be set up.
Hand sanitizer with minimum 60 percent alcohol base may be used instead of hand washing with soap. People may be encouraged to carry their own hand sanitizer too. People will be allowed to enter the haat in queue maintaining social distance. Sellers and buyers have to use face mask at all times. Spitting, an unhealthy habit, should be avoided. Senior citizen above 50 years, persons with co-morbid conditions, and persons with symptoms of fever and dry cough are discouraged to go to haat.
People returning from haatare advised to bathe and wash all clothing with soap and water immediately after coming back home. The purchased animal too should be washed with soap and water. Haat returnees have to be watched over for 14 days to note symptoms/signs of COVID-19 (i.e., fever 100.40F or above, dry cough…), if any, report to nearby health center.
The mosque management will remove floor covering mats (if any) and take the responsibility for cleaning and disinfecting the mosque floor. It is urged that for prayers, people do ablution (wadu) at home and go to nearby mosque wearing face mask when they enter, offer prayer and leave the mosque in queue maintaining social distance. It will be a good practice if hand sanitizer is used before entering and after leaving mosque.
Avoiding handshake and embracing (kola-kuli) each other, people will leave the mosque soon after prayers. On coming back home, the prayer returnees will bathe and wash all clothing with soap and water. Prayer returnees have to be watched over for 14 days to note symptoms/signs of COVID-19, if any, report to nearby health center.
As regards the process of slaughtering of sacrificial animal if done on personal level, minimum number of people should be involved. The sacrificial site should be at a distance from dwellings. The slaughterers should wash the animal and themselves with soap and water before starting the process. They should use face mask and maintain social distance at all time. At the end of slaughtering process they will bathe and wash all clothing with soap and water. Slaughterers should be watched over for 14 days to note symptoms and signs of COVID-19.
Persons above 50 years, having co-morbid condition, or have symptoms and signs of COVID-19 should not be involved in the slaughtering process. Before cooking or freezing, the meat should be washed thoroughly in running water. The meat should be cooked well before eating.
Following the above public health measures during Eid-ul-Adha, it is expected that the spread of COVID-19 will be kept at minimum allowing all to perform the celebration happily. This will also help to minimize risk for those not participating in the celebrations. Prayers for the Muslim Ummah to conclude the festivities peacefully and in good health.
(Rukhsana Shaheen, PhD is a retired Assistant Professor of Community Medicine, now working as freelance Public Health worker in Dhaka. E-mail: shafrukh@hotmail.com)

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