Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock has thanked Muslims across the UK for their “sacrifice” as they mark Ramadan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The holy month, in which adult Muslims fast and reflect, begins on April 23 and usually sees worshippers congregate, pray and celebrate together, attending mosques in numbers.

But with mosques remaining closed and worshippers being told to pray at home, this year will be very different.

Speaking at the British Government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Mr Hancock said: “This Ramadan, many Muslims who serve their country in the NHS and in the armed forces, and in so many other ways, will not be sharing the joy of this month as they normally do.

“I want to say to all British Muslims, thank you for staying at home. I know how important the daily Iftar is, how important communal prayers are at night and how important the Eid festival is.

“Thank you for making major changes to these vital parts of your practice and I want to say to you all Ramadan Mubarak. And thank you for your service and citizenship and thank you for your sacrifice.”

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) published guidance for worshippers, which advised celebrating Ramadan “digitally” and sharing Iftar – the meal with which Muslims end their daily fasting – with family over FaceTime rather than in person.

Meanwhile, a Muslim doctor and health campaigner said there was a religious obligation for the UK’s lockdown rules to be obeyed during Ramadan and encouraged those who have contracted Covid-19 not to fast.

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