CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC – GUIDELINES AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
Please see the latest official advice from the Islamic Council of Victoria;
As Muslims we have a responsibility by the grace of Allah (swt) to make sure we safeguard and also be proactive in ensuring that all members of the community are safe, especially the young, elderly and sick.
A state of emergency has been declared in Victoria in response to COVID-19. The situation is serious and changing rapidly.
Following advice from the health authorities and religious authorities (the Mufti, Australian Fatwa Council, ANIC) the ICV in recommends the following actions in order to limit the spread of COVID-19:
a. That all mosques cancel Jummah prayers from this coming Friday (20/03/2020) until further notice. The Australian Fatwa Council stated that in these circumstances “…it is appropriate and relevant to apply the Islamic legal exemption that removes the obligation of attending Friday Prayers, as well as exempting people from attending the Daily Congregational Prayer”.
It is also important to emphasize that the current ruling from the government and health authorities limits large gatherings to a maximum of 100 people (indoors) and 500 (outdoors). This is almost certain to be revised downwards in the next few days. It would be very difficult for large mosques to be able to limit Jummah congregations to this number. It is illegal to exceed the 100-person limit and penalties will be imposed. Further, the social distancing guidelines specify that the distance between people should be at least 1.5m. Given these two constraints, it would be impractical to conduct Jummah prayers at our mosques. Another factor that has been considered is that if people are turned away from large mosques they will seek out smaller mosques or prayer halls which will also lead to large numbers at those locations.
b. That all classes in Mosques and community centres should be suspended.
c. All public events should be cancelled until further notice.
d. If you plan to attend a mosque for prayer make sure you carry your own prayer mat. It is not possible to guarantee that the carpets will be safe and clean.
e. Mosques and community centres should have adequate infection control schedules and personal hygiene measures in place to reduce transmission. This includes increased frequency of cleaning of the venue, and the provision of soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer for worshippers.
f. People take care to self-quarantine if they show any symptoms. It is strongly suggested that you seek medical advice first before going directly to the doctor. Please follow instructions given by the health authorities. You can also find the self-assessment tool here.
g. Take care with your young, elderly and immunocompromised members to ensure they are safe.
h. Reach out to those who might need support to ensure they have the necessary supplies, etc. You could even offer to drive the elderly to the supermarkets in the morning. As Muslims we have a sacred duty to look after our vulnerable irrespective of faith or ethnicity.
i. Read the attached FAQs on COVID -19 issued by Department of Health, Australian Government. Call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 or 131 450 if you need a translating or interpreting service.
j. Contact the ICV if you have any questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org We have set up a dedicated team to respond to any concerns relating to COVID-19.
These measures might sound extreme and harsh but as the Mufti has emphasized, the sanctity of life is of primary importance as part of our faith, and as such, all measures should be taken to minimize infection and keep the Australian community safe.
We ask you for your understanding and patience in dealing with this pandemic and pray to Allah (swt) to keep everyone safe.
For more, tap to www.icv.org.au