THE NHS is encouraging Bradford's Muslim community to stay safe and follow all Government guidelines, with Eid celebrations on the horizon.

NHS Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has wished the Muslim community a happy and healthy Eid, while advising people not to get "complacent", and to continue to adhere to social distancing rules.

Eid Ul-Adha, an important day in the Islamic calender, will be celebrated this week, with some sources saying it will fall on Thursday, and others on Friday.

Bradford's Muslim community - which makes up 24.7 per cent of the district's population, according to Office for National Statistics figures from 2017 - would usually mark the occasion by attending Eid prayers at the mosque, followed by visiting family and friends.

But, in the wake of COVID-19, Eid may be a different experience this year.

Earlier this month, places of worship were given the Government go-ahead to re-open, although they must comply with guidelines and have measures in place to stop the spread of the virus.

Dr Sohail Abbas, GP and deputy clinical chair at NHS Bradford District and Craven CCG, said: "Thank you for what everyone has done over recent months to help fight COVID-19. I’d like to wish everyone a happy and healthy Eid, and I know that normally, people would be celebrating this special time in different circumstances.

"As people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they catch the virus, it’s important to not become complacent, and to continue to follow guidance to reduce its spread, such as social distancing and regular hand-washing.

"If you are visiting a mosque, please follow the guidance and limit your social interaction to your own household, or up to one other household, wherever possible.

"You should not hold or attend celebrations where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, as it's important not to gather in large groups in people’s homes. Only two households should socialise indoors together, so please avoid inviting lots of friends and family to your home. Instead, speak to them by phone or video call. The fewer people we are in close contact with, the less chance we have of catching or spreading the virus.

"This may make Eid feel different, but it’s vital we follow the guidance, to keep our families and the wider community safe."

Strengthening Faith Institutions (SFI), an organisation which helped places of worship with risk assessments ahead of their re-openings, is also stressing the importance of staying safe.

"SFI is wishing the Muslim community a blessed and safe Eid - the majority of Bradford mosques have re-opened, and gatherings of more than 30 people are allowed, but they must comply with the guidance", said Javed Bashir, Safeguarding Consultant with SFI.

Mr Bashir says worshippers should avoid close contact with each other, and should be mindful of the virus if they attend the mosque for Eid prayers, or if they visit family and friends.

"Bradford's places of worship have been very active and have ensured social distancing rules are followed, and we hope this continues over Eid", he added.

More information from SFI on how to celebrate Eid safely is outlined here.