By Javid Hassan
With the advent of Ramzan heralding month-long fasting, governments in many Muslim-majority countries have announced new measures against Covid-19 as the virus goes through mutations harmful to human beings. These measures are intended to check social contacts in public places. Even so, the Covid-19 virus continues to plague public health officials in many Muslim-majority countries, from Morocco to Indonesia, where governments realize its negative impact.
In the Maghreb region, for instance, Tunisia has been the worst affected country with 1,833 new cases detected followed by Libya (869), Morocco (635) and Algeria (112). The Middle East is caught in a similar tangle, while Iran, with a tally of 2.1 million infections before, is in the midst of a fourth wave of infections, with 22,586 more cases reported recently. It accounts for 29.4 % of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, says the Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) in its April issue. More than 7.1 million Covid-19 cases have been confirmed to date in the MENA region. Since 5 April, 329,977 new Covid-19 cases have been detected in 17 MENA countries tracked by MEED.
Elsewhere, Turkey has recorded 55,941 additional cases, while Saudi Arabia faces 902 new patients. The Saudi government has announced new restrictions on the Umrah pilgrimage as well as visits to the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina. The pandemic will impact pilgrims in Saudi Arabia for the second consecutive year. However, pilgrims and worshippers who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 or have recovered from coronavirus will be allowed into the Grand Mosque in Mecca. According to Saudi Arabia’s Hajj and Umrah Ministry, permits will be granted to those who have received two vaccination jabs, the first dose at least two weeks before their visit to Medina and Mecca, and those who have recovered from the viral infection.