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Eid cattle markets

Eid-ul-Azha is a festive occasion but will be a different affair this year amid the coronavirus pandemic as there is an increased risk of the spread of communicable viruses.
The government has allowed setting up small markets but in large numbers under strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure social distancing. More than 700 cattle markets have been set up around the country.
These markets will be established on the outskirts of the city rather than inside and will be closed for the public in the evening. The safety precautions are welcome but would be immensely difficult to implement.
Among these safety precautions include screening people entering cattle markets, wearing face masks and physical distancing. Elderly and children will not be allowed inside and only people will be allowed in a vehicle transporting these animals.
Cattle markets are congested areas where men and beasts are present in large numbers and it would be a cumbersome task to control them. While animal sacrifices and rituals are essential, it is necessary to educate people about the steps being taken to protect people from the deadly virus.
The prime minister has warned that we need to be careful while celebrating Eid-ul-Azha or else the numbers of coronavirus cases would spike. The country is seeing a decline in cases and all efforts would be reversed and health facilities would be overburdened.
The real risk lies not just at the cattle markets but rather when these animals are brought homes. Streets are filled with people displaying their animals and large crowds gather while it is a joyful occasion for children.
We are in a different situation this year and any such activity will lead to the spread of the disease. We need to live with the reality of the coronavirus and take precautions. It is our collective responsibility that we should fulfill our religious obligations but also ensure it could impact our health and economy.
Eid-ul-Azha provides a boost to several industries and is a multi-billion dollar business that could be affected due to dire economic situation. Preference should be given to collective sacrifices this year. We need to ensure this religious obligations is held in a safe environment.
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