Coronavirus: Qatar closes all shops except food stores, pharmacies for 14 days
Qatar decided to shut down all shops and bank branches in shopping malls, except for food stores and pharmacies, in addition to closing down part of the Industrial Area for 14 days as part of measures against the spread of the coronavirus.
The decision was announced during Qatar’s High Committee for Crisis Management press conference on Tuesday, where it also announced the three new coronavirus cases were deteced, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 442 so far.
The statement from the committee also specified that salons, barber shops, spas at hotels and retail shops would be part of the closure over the next 14 days.
Mosques close across region
Qatar announced on Tuesday it was closing mosques and suspending communal religious prayers, including Friday prayers, to limit the spread of coronavirus.
The move is in line with other regional countries who have also moved to limit interaction through communal religious practices.
On Monday, the UAE suspended prayer in all houses of worship including mosques across the country for four weeks.
Saudi Arabia suspended the Islamic pilgrimage of Umrah, which Muslims can make at any time to Mecca, earlier this month. Millions of Muslims make Umrah every year, with the decision having a knock-on effect on both pilgrims and travel agents who facilitate their journeys.
The decision comes as religious gatherings have been some of the sites in which coronavirus spreads. In South Korea, the leader of a cult church apologized after his congregation became the center of an outbreak of the virus in the city of Daegu. In Malaysia, authorities reported a jump in the number of cases after 16,000 people attended a religious gathering.
On Wednesday, Mohammed al-Issa, the Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, praised the decision to close mosques as a “religious duty.”
“The temporary closure of places of worship in some Islamic countries is considered a religious duty in light of the #coronavirus becoming a pandemic,” says Muhammad al-Issa, the head of the #Mecca-based Muslim World League (@MWLOrg_en).#COVID_19https://t.co/p4sCbAGBRq pic.twitter.com/bxkFa0Hoii— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) March 17, 2020