The leader of one of Wolverhampton’s mosques, along with the city’s health chief, are together calling on people to take care and celebrate Ramadan safely this year.

With the holy month of Ramadan beginning this week, people are advised to get tested regularly, have their vaccine as soon as they can, and continue to follow Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air guidance.

Mohammed Shafiq, chairman of the Jamia Masjid Bilal Mosque, said: “As we enter the holy month of Ramadan, I would like to send my warm wishes to everyone who is taking part in this time of reflection, prayer and fasting. 

“One of our key responsibilities is to safeguard ourselves, our families, and the wider community. There are several steps that we can all take to do this as the fight against COVID-19 continues. 

“We can get tested regularly, we can get the vaccine when we are called upon to do so, and most importantly, we can continue to abide by the current guidelines that have been put in place to protect ourselves and each other.”

John Denley, the city’s Director of Public Health, added: “It is important that people take care, follow the advice from their mosques, continue to observe national guidance, and most importantly, get tested regularly.

“Free rapid tests are available to anyone without symptoms of Covid-19, with results helping us to control the spread of the virus, and many of our local mosques will be checking whether people have been tested recently before they enter.”

With strict rules around Ramadan, there have been concerns from some people about whether they can have their Covid-19 vaccine injection when they are fasting. The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) has consulted a wide range of scholars and the opinion of the vast majority is that receiving a vaccine by injection does not invalidate the fast. It said: “Taking the Covid-19 vaccines currently licensed in the UK does not invalidate the fast.”

John Denley added: “It is important that people continue to have their vaccinations through Ramadan when it is their turn, and do not put off having their second jab either, which boosts protection from the virus further.”

The BIMA also considered whether Muslims should take Covid-19 tests during Ramadan and said: “Taking the Covid-19 PCR or lateral flow tests does not invalidate the fast during Ramadan, as per the opinion of the majority of Islamic scholars.”

Anyone with any concerns about coronavirus and Ramadan should speak to their mosque for more information.

More information on rapid testing for people without symptoms of Covid-19 is available at Coronavirus Testing. Rapid testing is not available for people who have symptoms of Covid-19, including a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to the sense of taste or smell, or people who have been told to isolate. Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 is reminded they should immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test by visiting GOV.UK or calling 119. 

Latest figures show there were 29.4 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 10 April. That means 77 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be higher.