8 more mosques in Saudi Arabia closed due to COVID-19

Cairo: Saudi authorities have temporarily closed eight more mosques after nine worshippers tested positive for the novel coronavirus, raising the overall such shutdowns to 70 mosques in eight days, Okaz newspaper said Tuesday.

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Five worshippers caught the virus at four mosques in Riyadh, according to a report from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. The four other infection cases were registered in worshippers at mosques in the regions of Medina, Tabuk, Al Khubar and Al Baha.

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Fifty-seven out of the total 70 mosques, shut over COVID-19 in the kingdom, have reopened after thoroughly sterilising them to protect health of the worshippers.

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The ministry has recently intensified its inspection of mosques across the country to ensure compliance with anti-coronavirus precautions, making a total of 34,722 such tours in two weeks, according to Okaz.

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Laxity in implementing the precautionary measures has been detected in a total of 1,282 mosques. “All observations have been addressed on the spot,” the ministry said, without elaborating.

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The ministry has repeatedly reminded worshippers of the importance of abiding by anti-virus precautions while in mosques including the wearing of face masks, using the personal prayer rugs and observing distancing among themselves.

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Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs Abdulatif Bin Abdulaziz has recently warned that mosques can be closed again amid concerns over an increase in the novel coronavirus cases.

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Saudi Arabia earlier this month imposed a set of restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19, including a temporary ban on flights from 20 countries and suspending in-present mosque lectures.

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Last May, Saudi authorities reopened mosques after a closure of two months to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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