Male’ City Council instructs social distancing during funeral prayers

Worshipers perform their prayers in a mosque in Male' City on June 15, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Male’ City Council has ordered for observance of social distancing during funeral prayers held in the capital in light of the surge in coronavirus cases.

The council has released special guidelines for funeral rites in Male’, designed to ensure public health safety amid the surge in coronavirus cases.

The council has declared that funeral prayers in Male’ will be held in Masjid al-Ta’awun, located in the Aasahara cemetery.

According to the guidelines, funeral prayers in Masjid al-Ta’awun are to be held 30 minutes after the daily prayers, so that it does not coincide with congregations for the daily prayers.

The council said that once the body of the deceased is taken to the cemetery, families must make it a priority to complete funeral rites and bury the deceased as soon as possible, and that funeral workers will ensure it.

 The bodies of the deceased, once they are washed, are not to be kept for more than three hours.

The council has urged that those attending funerals maintain social distancing when in the cemetery and adhere to other safety guidelines issued by Health Protection Agency (HPA).

The council has also stated that those performing funeral prayers are to maintain physical distance from each other.

While the city has ordered for observance of social distancing during funeral prayers, no such order has been issued for daily prayers held in mosques. Prayer-goers were not instructed to observe social distancing during Friday prayers, and the recent Eid al-Adha prayer.

Funeral prayers for those who die from the new coronavirus are held in the Hulhumale’ cemetery.

The surge in coronavirus cases follows the relaxation of the lockdown in July. An increasing number of new coronavirus cases are unlinked to existing clusters, which health authorities warn indicates a wide community spread.

Maldives has 3,949 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 156 new cases recorded on Saturday – marking the biggest single-day spike in coronavirus cases to be recorded in the country. 2,613 patients have since recovered, while 17 have died from complications.