Ramadan likely to begin on April 2


After two years of the pandemic and the spate of restrictions imposed in its wake, the faithful can breathe a sigh of relief this year as Ramadan is going to be a rather normal affair, albeit with COVID-19 protocol in place. However, community iftars in mosque squares or Ramadan tents have not been allowed while children below 12 years are also not allowed to visit mosques as a health safety precaution.

People in Oman, who are by and large fully vaccinated and a sizable number also having received their booster dose, will not face movement restrictions or be prevented to celebrate iftars at homes and in hotel premises as the number of COVID-19 infections daily have come down significantly. Also, people have been strictly following the main precautions of wearing masks in all public places, maintaining social distancing wherever needed, sanitising their hands as well as avoiding unnecessary contact with strangers as well as acquaintances by way of greeting with handshakes or hugs.

Also, special night prayers during Ramadan – Taraweeh – will resume in mosques after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs (MARA) has announced. An internal memo issued by the ministry states that directions have been given to assign preachers and religious supervisors to lead worshipers for Taraweeh prayers in mosques where there are no imams currently.

Meanwhile, the daily case count in the recent past has averaged less than 100. ‘Seventy-four new infections were reported on Monday taking the total number of cases registered in Oman to 388,160. No deaths were reported on the day, keeping the total number of deaths at 4,250, while the number of recoveries is 382,636,’ the Ministry of Health stated on Monday.

Preparations for Ramadan are on in full swing in Oman this year, as is evident from the shopping trends in hypermarkets and malls. Offers and schemes by commercial establishments, which were on hold for the past two years to avoid people flocking in large numbers in different areas, are now back as showrooms of cars, appliances, garments, electronics are wooing prospective buyers with a host of exciting offers and raffles.

Hotels and restaurants in Muscat have begun advertising their Ramadan menus as well as arrangements for buffets during Iftar and Suhoor during the holy month. The takeaway trail, which received a shot in the arm over the past two years as patrons preferred to stay away from eateries, are also gearing up for brisk business this year as the trend has picked up significantly, thanks to the pandemic.

Surveillance and vigilance

Ramadan, however, is not just about food. It is also a social occasion when family and friends come together. “Many of us were not able to physically be with our loved ones for the holy month in the past two Ramadans. So we are happy we will get to celebrate Ramadan evenings with our family and friends. I just hope no restrictions are put in place,” said Sohar resident Mohammed al Balushi.

Speaking on a radio programme recently, H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, reminded listeners that COVID-19 is “still prevalent with the daily caseload starting to rise in many countries”. Urging all to get the booster dose, he cautioned against lowering the guard and not following preventive measures.

“Meetings will be held to review recommendations of the technical team of the Supreme Committee on COVID-19 before Ramadan,” H E Dr Sa’eedi said.

The Consumer Protection Authority (CPA) has informed of efforts to monitor markets for irregularities. CPA has been conducting an intensive campaign in commercial centres and has issued notices against violators to control prices, promotions and discounts for Ramadan, a CPA official said. Also, Muscat Municipality has intensified inspection and control visits to ensure the quality of foodstuffs and storage facilities to ensure public health.

Ramadan moon sighting on Friday

The Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs (MARA) has called on everyone to be alert for sighting the crescent of the month of Ramadan on Friday evening.

In a statement, MARA said, ‘We invite all to look out for the crescent of the month of Ramadan on Sha’ban 29, 1443 AH, which corresponds to April 1, 2022.’

In the event of sighting the new moon, it requested the information be relayed to the concerned authorities or call its phone numbers: 24694400, 24644037, 24644070 and 24695551


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