Muscat – For the third successive year, Muslims will mark Ramadan in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, with the number of cases significantly low and most restrictions relaxed in Oman, many are looking forward to observing the month like they did before the pandemic.

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.

Expected to begin early next week, Ramadan is the most anticipated time in the Islamic calendar with elaborate preparations taking place in the weeks before to stock up ingredients for traditional dishes for the duration of the month.

“Ramadan is the most sacred month and hence deserves adequate preparations. We missed the real feel of the month the last two years, so we are happy that this Ramadan will be full of activities because almost all COVID-19 restrictions are removed. I hope to finish all my shopping so that I can be free to observe the month piously,” said government employee Bader al Harthi, as he shopped in a hypermarket in Muscat.

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.

With shopping centres wooing customers with special Ramadan offers, Consumer Protection Authority (CPA) 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.

Muscat Municipality has also 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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