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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly 1.8 billion Muslims around the world start their monthlong fast for Ramadan on Friday as the coronavirus continues to engulf the world and impede everyday life.

Why it matters: Long-standing traditions, such as gatherings with family and friends for iftar, the meal for breaking fast, and evening prayers, are set to be upended as people are forced to isolate.

Context: Ramadan is a holy month of fasting when Muslims abstain from drinking or eating between sunrise and sundown.

  • Muslims who are sick or have contracted the coronavirus are not required to fast.

The big picture: "All faiths have dealt with the challenge of keeping faith alive under the adverse conditions of war or diaspora or persecution — but never all faiths at the same time," Amy Sullivan, the strategy director for Vote Common Good, told Politico.

  • "Religion in the time of quarantine will challenge conceptions of what it means to minister and to fellowship," she added.

To put things in perspective, imagine a Christmas without family, presents, decorations or Santa Claus. Muslims who cherish the social and religious traditions during the holy month are facing a similar reality.

"Anecdotally, I do not know of a single mosque in America that remains open for business right now. And the few that were kind of stragglers and delayed by a week or so — even they ended up getting on board."
— Edward Ahmed Mitchell, the executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, told Al Jazeera

Around the world: Saudi Arabia announced its residents will be able to pray only at home until the pandemic is over, including during the month of Ramadan. The Gulf nation often sets the tone for other Sunni-dominant countries.

  • Jordan and Egypt both announced orders against public gatherings and prayers during Ramadan to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus, per Reuters.
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani asked citizens to avoid gatherings, prayers and going to holy sites, the Washington Post notes.
  • Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced Tuesday the ban of "mudik," a large exodus of people living in cities returning to their villages at the end of Ramadan, Al Jazeera reports.
  • The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs is also urging people to participate in online lectures on religion during Ramadan to curb the spread of the virus.

Of note: For the thousands of Muslims trapped in civil wars, or who face oppression or struggle daily against poverty, this Ramadan won't be very different from others.

Go deeper: God and COVID-19

Go deeper

Trump renomination vote to be held in private, with no media present

President Trump at the White House on Friday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The vote on renominating President Trump will be held in private this month with no media present because of coronavirus "restrictions and limitations" in place in North Carolina, a Republican National Convention spokesperson told AP Saturday.

The big picture: The vote is due to take place at the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Aug. 24. When Trump announced on July 23 that he canceled plans to hold the convention in Jacksonville, Florida, over COVID-19 concerns, he said he'd give an acceptance speech "in a different form."

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Updated 18 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy.
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker