Coronavirus Ramadan: Saudi King approves reduced Taraweeh prayers in Two Holy Mosques

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud approved performing a reduced version of Taraweeh prayers in the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina, with the continued suspension of entry of worshipers, the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques' Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.

The President General of the authority, Sheikh Dr. Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz Al-Sudais, had announced on Tuesday that group Taraweeh prayers will be performed in the Two Holy Mosques, but only limited to the authority’s employees and workers, and will be shortened to five Tasleemat (i.e. 10 Rak’ahs).

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The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques prepared a comprehensive plan for the implementation of coronavirus precautionary heath measures during the holy month of Ramadan in Mecca and Medina, spokesman Hani bin Hosni Haider said.

The plan includes the continued suspension of allowing worshipers to enter the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, as well as increasing the sterilization processes and thermal testing of every worker and those entering for funeral rites.

The Ramadan group iftars which were traditionally held in the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque were assigned to Mecca and Medina’s provincial authorities to distribute iftar meals while maintaining the necessary health precautions.

According to the precautionary health measures, there will be no Itikaf (or keeping vigil) inside the Two Holy Mosques.

The attendance of employees at the Two Holy Mosques will continue to be restricted to the absolutely necessary workers, and operations of maintenance will be conducted depending on priority and in accordance with the precautionary measures.

Ramadan across the Kingdom

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia instructed the public to perform Taraweeh and Eid al-Fitr prayers at home amid the suspension of group prayers (Jamaa’a) in mosques as part of the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The government also revised the coronavirus curfew timings for Ramadan, allowing residents to leave their homes only for necessary requirements between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

There are currently 11,631 confirmed coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia, 9,882 out of them are active cases, 1,640 recoveries, and 109 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

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