Policemen stop a motorist near a closed mosque on the Friday prayers day in Karachi. AFP
Governments of Asian nations with large Muslim populations have urged people to keep their distance while observing their faith during the fasting month, which gets underway shrouded in fear over the coronavirus.
Last week, Pakistan ceded to pressure from religious leaders and eased restrictions on mosques in time for Ramadan, when congregations tend to swell in number.
Muslims maintain safe distance as they attend Friday prayer in efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus in Karachi. Reuters
"The Sindh government has decided people should offer Ramadan's Taraweeh (evening) prayers at home," Sindh's Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said in a video message broadcast on local television stations on Friday.
Shah said he was acting on the advice of doctors.
"Our hospitals are overwhelmed with patient inflows; we don't want our health system to collapse," he said. Pakistan, the world’s second most populous Muslim country after Indonesia, has reported more than 11,000 cases of the coronavirus, including 237 deaths. Both the government and experts say the peak for infections is expected to hit in May.
Large gatherings will only worsen the numbers and overwhelm the health care system that has less than 3,000 acute care beds for a population of 220 million people, says Dr Qaiser Sajjad, secretary general of the Pakistan Medical Association and one of the authors of the letter.
Imran and his wife Bushra Bibi tested positive for the coronavirus the other day. The prime minister tested COVID-19 positives two days after receiving the vaccine, triggering a debate on the effectiveness of the jab.
"We expect the first 10,000 doses to come on March 25, and 100,000 next month and 200,000 the month after," said Hassan Abbas, an official of AJ Pharma, CanSino's local partner, which will be importing the vaccine.
The stringent measures will become effective from April 1. All wedding halls and marquees were closed. Indoor or outdoor dining in the marriage halls and restaurants was banned. However, the facility of takeaway would be continued.
US and European sources familiar with intelligence reporting said on Friday that Iran is the leading suspect in an attack on an Israeli-managed petroleum products tanker off Oman but it is too early to say for sure.
Several videos of the violence have been circulating on Iraqi social media, and it is believed that the battle lasted for hours in Al-Kahla district, Maysan governorate.
The prompt actions taken by SPEA (Sharjah Private Education Authority), the School Management and the teaching faculty at India International School has helped students achieve phenomenal results this academic year 2020-2021.