Eid al-Fitr must go digital this year, say experts
Measures that have been taken so far to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are yielding results, experts from the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Science Board have said, warning that people must avoid physical contact during Eid al-Fitr not to compromise the gains in the fight against COVID-19.
Millions of people will observe the religious holiday, which marks the end of the holy Ramadan, under lockdown because of the four-day curfew the government imposed for the country’s 81 provinces starting May 23.
This year’s Eid holiday is scheduled to fall between May 24 and May 26.
Experts warned that people need to skip some customary rituals of Eid, such as home visits and kissing elderly’s hands, and urged people to “go digital this Eid.”
“The precautions we have taken have started to yield result. The next four days are very crucial. People should not even visit neighbors next door in their apartments. Let’s not spoil all the hard work and the gains we have made so far,” Professor Füsun Eyüpoğlu told daily Hürriyet.
The reason behind the four-day lockdown is to prevent close physical contact during the Eid feast, according to Professor Levent Yamanel, another member of the Science Board, which is tasked to advise the government on measures to be taken in the fight against the coronavirus.
“People should not accept visits to their homes. They need to extend their Eid greetings to loved ones through digital means. This will be a digital Eid, we will skip some customs,” said Yamanel.
Professor Recep Öztrürk also warned against the potential risks from of some rituals, such as kissing elderly’s hand to show respect.
“We have managed to protect our senior citizens. Young people do not show symptoms of COVID-19 and spread the virus without knowing it. Just pick up the phone and call them, do not kiss their hands. We need to make some sacrifices,” he said.
Face masks and cologne, which is believed to be an effective disinfectant, will make a better gift for the Eid al-Fitr instead of candy, this year, Professor Ahmet Demircan from the Science Board proposed.
Some 258,000 people granted travel permission
Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry announced late May 21 that 258,651 people aged 65 and over, including their companions, were given travel permits to their hometowns for Eid al-Fitr.
Elderly people granted an inter-city travel permission will have to stay at least 30 days in their hometown before returning to their city of departure, while their companions will have to travel back in three days.
Turkey has extended a travel ban from and to 15 cities until June 4 due to the coronavirus.
The Religious Affairs Presidency (Diyanet) has announced that Eid al-Fitr prayers on May 24 will not be performed in mosques.