People are crowding in markets, ignoring social distancing orders and rarely wearing masks to prepare for Eid-al-Adah celebration in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has eased its lockdown, allowing small business and daily workers to move on with their daily lives, while educational institutes and schools remain closed.

The country’s health ministry has reported over 36,400 cases of the virus, and over 1,250 deaths.

The ministry officials also said the spread of the virus has taken a level of stability and if precautionary measures laid by the ministry are followed, the number of COVID-19 positive cases would decline in the country.

Akmal Samsor, spokesman for Afghan health ministry said, if the health care measures are not followed the number of positive cases might take a surge as people are coming out in the city in larger numbers for Eid shopping.

“If the instructions or the principles of the ministry of health is not followed then there is a possibility that we might see a surge of cases again after the Eid,” said Samsor.

Eid-al-Adah celebrations last for three days and buying different types of dry fruits and nuts is a tradition among Afghan families to welcome their guests.

Some shoppers in Kabul’s central market believe that social distancing should be observed while the threat of the virus still exists in the country.

“Eid is coming, and people are coming out for shopping, so they can welcome their guests during Eid days, so it is also important and I request all the people to practice social distancing while they are out in the city,” said Kabul resident, Abdul Rashid.

Saudi Arabia’s decision to drastically scale down the hajj season due to the virus has brought sadness to many Muslims from around the world, including Afghanistan, who had intended to travel to Mecca.

Afghan Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs said 30,000 Afghan pilgrims who were registered for the trip had to postpone their trips until next year.

“This year none of the Afghan pilgrims can participate in the holly Hajj pilgrimage from, therefore the trip of 30000 pilgrims who were registered for this year has been cancelled,” said Afghan Hajj and Religious Affairs Ministry Spokesman, Fazel Mohammad Hussaini.

Eid-al-Adah or “Feast of Sacrifice,” commemorates Ibrahim’s test of faith, Muslims slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to the poor.

The first day of Eid-al-Adah starts on Friday in Afghanistan.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.

But the virus is highly contagious and can be spread by those with mild or no visible symptoms.

For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and could lead to death.



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