As Muslims begin to prepare for the month of Ramadan this week, people who observe the Islamic holy month are being reminded they must avoid social gatherings because of the risk of coronavirus.

Ramadan will be marked all over the world from tomorrow (Thursday 23 April), with month long fasting and observations of spiritual reflection set to end on Saturday 23 May. This is followed by Eid, the festival of fast breaking where family and friends traditionally get together to attend special prayers and celebrate the end of the holy month.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Anyone can spread coronavirus, even if they don’t show symptoms. 

"Reducing our day to day contact with other people is the best way that we can to stop the spread of coronavirus, and to help save lives, and so everyone needs to be following the social distancing guidance – which includes avoiding social gatherings."

Dr Habib Naqvi, NHS Deputy Director Workforce Race Equality Standard, said: “This is a critical period where Muslims, along with other communities, should make use of online platforms and alternative approaches to communicate with family and friends and stick with government guidelines regarding social distancing. 

"The coronavirus restrictions are still very likely to be place by Eid, so the key message remains: stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.”

The social distancing measures require people to stay at home as much as possible and only leave the house: 

  • to shop for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • for one form of exercise a day, for instance a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of their household.
  • for any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • to travel to and from work, but only where work cannot be done from home, or to take children to and from school if parents are classed as 'critical workers'

When out in public, people must stay 2 metres – or 6 feet – away from other people at all times, unless they are members of the same household. All social events, including religious ceremonies, have been stopped. 

These measures should be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for people or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at Advice for everyone – Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit Stay Safe, Be Kind.