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World’s largest Muslim-majority nation lifts Covid curbs for Ramadan

Country eases Covid restrictions for the first time in two years

Sravasti Dasgupta
Monday 04 April 2022 12:49 BST
(Related) Ramadan: Worshippers pray at the Kaaba in Mecca’s Grand Mosque

Thousands gathered in Jakarta’s Istiqlal mosque on Saturday as the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation brought in the holy month of Ramadan.

With cases of the coronavirus ebbing in Indonesia, the country eased restrictions to allow people to congregate for special prayers that are performed only during Ramadan.

In a statement last week president Joko Widodo announced that the country would ease Covid restrictions for the first time in two years.

“This year, Muslims can hold congregational (night time prayers) and gather to pray in mosques,” he said in a televised address.

“People who also want to travel to visit relatives in the travel to visit relatives in the traditional Eid homecoming are welcome to.”

The government has also allowed Iftar gatherings in restaurants, malls and cafes. However physical distancing and mask mandates continue to remain in place.

Ramadan related festivals which were stopped for the last two years are also set to resume this year including the popular torch-light parade.

“I am so excited to see the tradition of Ramzan returning entirely,” said Rahardian Irsan, a resident of Jakarta to Associated Press.

“The longing of a normal Ramadan has finally been relieved today, although the pandemic has not yet ended.”

“I feel grateful that we are finally able to gather for the Tarawih prayer, and there are no strict restrictions this time like before,” said Tri Haryono, who had gathered at the Istiqal mosque to Reuters.

While Muslims in South Asia and Southeast Asia began the holy month of fasting on Sunday, countries in the Middle East started earlier.

The days differ depending on the sighting of the moon.

The holy month started as the country reported more than a 90 per cent drop in coronavirus cases in comparison to February, with only 2,930 cases on Friday.

In February, the country had recorded a peak of 64,700 cases.

75 per cent of the country’s 208 million population is vaccinated.

Additional reporting by agencies

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