Speaking during a teleconference with the leadership and members of the public of Dagestan on Monday, Putin said he is aware that Muslims are continuing to observe the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, which ends on the evening of May 23, marking the start of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
"I know how people in the republic treat this holiday and how they cherish traditions. I also know that clerics have called on believers, adherents of Islam, to celebrate this holiday at home, not to organize collective prayers, and skip the tradition of gathering in large companies with friends at this time," Putin said.
"I expect that this authoritative word will certainly be heard," he said.
Anna Popova, the head of the Federal Service for Health and Consumer Rights (Rospotrebnadzor) and chief public health official, said during the conference that the coronavirus situation in Dagestan has currently struck some "very delicate balance," and tighter isolation measures have helped stop explosive growth in the number of new cases. However, if Dagestani residents start actively contacting each other again, it would be impossible to avoid a new outbreak of Covid-19 there, she said.
"If the situation changes and the people start socializing now, we will unfortunately have further growth, deterioration, and more cases in critical condition, that's for sure. I'd like to point out that, certainly, traditional rites involving large numbers of people are typical for the republic, but this should be avoided as much as possible these days," Popova said.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and traditionally lasts three days. This year, Eid al-Fitr begins on May 24.