Saudi Arabia bans prayers at mosques over COVID-19 scare

Saudi Arabia bans prayers at mosques over COVID-19 scare

Agency News

Riyadh, Mar 19 : Saudi Arabia on Friday suspended the holding of daily prayers and the weekly prayers inside and outside the walls of the two mosques in Mecca and Medina, in an effort to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Earlier, Saudi authorities had suspended congregational prayers in other mosques in the country except Masjid al-Haram and Masjid an-Nabawi, in Mecca and Medina respectively. Authorities had also placed restrictions on praying inside the mosque in Mecca. But on Thursday, the government suspended prayers outside the two holy mosques.

"The Presidency and the security and health authorities decided to suspend the presence and prayers in the outer squares of the Grand Mosque [Masjid al-Haram] and the Prophet’s Mosque [Masjid al-Nabawi] starting tomorrow, Friday,” the country’s official SPA news agency quoted Hani bin Hosni Haider, a spokesman for the General Presidency of Mecca’s Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, as saying. Saudi Arabia recorded 36 new infections on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 274 with no deaths so far. Apart from closing the mosques Saudi authorties have halted international flights, suspended the Umrah year-round pilgrimage to Mecca, closed down schools, malls and restaurants, and asked people to stop going to work.(UNI)