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Turkey Prohibits Joint Ramadan Meals to Contain Coronavirus

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 4/22/2020 Selcan Hacaoglu

(Bloomberg) --

Turkey has prohibited mass meals during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan as the number of its coronavirus cases nears 100,000.

Turkish political parties, municipalities, institutions and wealthy people traditionally set up tents for free fast-breaking iftar dinners and pre-dawn suhoor meals. This year, people will be asked to take these meals with their households, as is the case elsewhere in the Muslim world. Ramadan begins in Turkey on Friday.

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In its decree late Tuesday, Turkey’s Interior Ministry also urged people to maintain social distancing while lining up to buy pide, a flatbread that’s a Ramadan specialty. Visits to shrines will be restricted, and visitors to cemeteries will be screened for fever. Mosques have already been closed.

Traditions will also be disrupted for Ramadan drummers who walk from home to home waking people for their last meal before dawn. Tipping by citizens has been barred, and they’ll be paid by local municipalities instead.

Turkey confirmed 95,591 cases and 2,259 deaths as of Tuesday.

(Adds similar restrictions elsewhere in second paragraph)

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