Saudi Arabia suspends congregational Ramadan prayers in Mecca, Medina
The president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques Abdul Rahman As-Sudais made the announcement on Monday in a tweet.
The nightly prayers performed during the holy month of Ramadan, Tarawih, held at the Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque will not be open to the public, Sudais said.
The prayers will still be held at the two holy sites without public attendance, according to Sudais. A schedule has not yet been released.
The statement on Twitter also said that itikaf – the Islamic practice of spiritual seclusion in a mosque, often in the last days of Ramadan – has been cancelled at the sites.
The Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Umrah, will remain suspended indefinitely, Sudais added.
Thermal-imaging cameras identify people with unusually high fevers, one of the signs of a potential covid-19 infection.
Saudi Arabia has confirmed 10,484 cases of coronavirus infection, with over 100 resulting deaths, while the virus has infected at least 2.4 million globally.
Read also: Middle East braces for grim Ramadan as coronavirus threat continues
Last month, the kingdom suspended prayers in the courtyards of the Mecca and Medina mosques to stem the spread of covid-19.
Ramadan begins later this week and will end the following month with Eid al-Fitr festivities.
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