The Kuwaitis are preparing for a different holy month of Ramadan as the novel coronavirus is spreading around the world.
Al-Mubarakiya market in Kuwait City, one of the oldest market in the country, has come to life after vegetables and fruit stalls opened its doors to customers who rushed there to buy what they need for Ramadan.
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Coronavirus has changed the holy month for Muslims, as mosques are closed and no family gatherings are expected in order to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Muhammad Nader Masoud, a 22-year-old paramedic, told Xinhua that he used to work for one day and rest for three during the Ramadan but now he has to work full time because of the coronavirus epidemic.
“It is difficult to feel Ramadan atmosphere nowadays due to preventive measures to stay away from the family for fear of infection,” he said.
“I cannot contact my friends or my family because of coronavirus cases that we receive daily. I am always in self-quarantine,” Masoud noted.
Meanwhile, volunteering during Ramadan, an essential part of the holy month, has been brought to a halt due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“Last year we were helping needy families by donating money or food supplies, but now donation becomes harder to come by due to the current financial situation for many donors (after the coronavirus pandemic),” said Islam Badawi, head of Convoy Voluntary Group of Kuwait.
Convoy Voluntary Group used to distribute dates and water in the streets before the dusk prayer, but going out for the distribution this year will be impossible because of the new curfew hours.
The Kuwaiti government has decided to extend the curfew time by three hours, from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m., from the first day of Ramadan, as part of the efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“Maghrib call to prayer at 6:19 p.m. and curfew hours start at 4 p.m. Also, people will not accept something without making sure that it is sterile,” Badawi said.
Ahmed Essam, a 25-year-old legal researcher in Gulf bank, is one of those who will witness the changes of Ramadan as his family are being stranded in Egypt because of the airport’s closure after the pandemic.
“This year I will be having my meal alone,” he said.
For Mona Al-Ahmed, a 41-year-old housewife, even traditional decorations for Ramadan will change this year because of the closure of malls.
“The prices went crazy for online shopping. The lantern that cost one Kuwaiti dinar (3.22 U.S. dollars) last year is now sold for six,” she complained.
“My children … will not be able to dress up in national costumes or visit our neighbors’ homes to collect sweets in their small bags,” the Kuwaiti housewife said.
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