With lockdown measures in place and family gatherings banned during Eid al Adha, hopes that many had to celebrate this Eid after they missed the last one (Eid al Fitr) are gone. Although people are going to miss celebrating Eid the traditional way, for the first time in several decades, they are hopeful the restrictions would help bring down the rising COVID-19 cases.
During Eid holidays in Oman, it is customary for families to gather with their relatives and friends. However, since the lockdown falls during Eid al Adha this time, the dreams of those who wanted to visit their relatives or enjoy night outings, are shattered.
“We normally organise a family day out with many of my extended family members at a farmhouse in Barka. Eid is the only chance we get to meet up with them.
So, it is sad to miss gatherings because COVID-19 is taking a tough toll on all of us,” Hassan al Naamani, who was longing to meet his relatives this Eid, said.
Samya Khalaf, Amerat resident, whose parents are in Seeb, said, “During Eid, our family members and relatives make arrangements to meet up at my parents house in the evenings to engage in greetings on the first day of Eid. This time, because of COVID-19, we are not meeting due to the lockdown. So, this means our social life is shattered unless the infections drastically subside,” she said.
Apart from family gatherings, people also like to go out to malls and beaches. “I visit my relatives on the first day of Eid in the mornings at their homes and in evenings I like go out to malls or beaches. I also used to take my family to cinemas. But this Eid will be completely different. We can’t go out at night. We have to be confined at home,” Fuad al Farsi, a Ghubra resident, said.
According to the Supreme Committee, Royal Oman Police (ROP) will intensify patrols during the lockdown period. It said that the types of gatherings prohibited during the Eid period include, Eid habtas, Eid prayers, family visits and traditional group celebrations.
People, however, hail the move and are hoping that the number of infections would reduce. “I think the government made a good decision to lock down the country. This is the time when so many gatherings take place, such as evening shopping before Eid, then during Eid and after Eid. I am sure the numbers would decrease significantly if measures are followed,” Adel al Musallami, who works as a health and safety advisor at an organisation, said.
According to H E Dr Mohammed al Hosni, Undersecretary of Health Affairs at the Ministry of Health, a rise in the COVID-19 infection rate in Oman is due to mass gatherings. “The big leap in figures happened due to an increase in mixing before and during the last Eid holidays. Everyone should avoid gatherings. Also, there are customs that must be avoided, such as wedding ceremonies and gatherings of families,” he said.
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