Malaysia will ease a ban on mass prayers in mosques, starting from Friday and ahead of this month’s Eid festival, the government said, as it gradually relaxes curbs that have helped rein in the coronavirus.
The news follows last week’s re-opening of many businesses in Malaysia, which has a tally of 6,819 infections and 112 deaths. It comes ahead of the Eid holiday that ends the fasting month of Ramadan, and falls on May 24 this year.
The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is among Malaysia’s federal territories which will allow prayers by congregations limited to 30 or fewer, said Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, the religious affairs minister.
“Even though worship in Islam is not confined only to mosques and suraus, it has a profound effect on the spiritual development of Muslims,” he told reporters on Thursday, in a reference to smaller prayer sites.
The measure excludes Malaysia’s 12 remaining states, which have their own laws on religious matters, but Zulkifli said they were free to adopt similar measures if they wished.
Mass prayers have been banned since around mid-March in a partial lockdown after more than 2,300 people were infected in the country’s biggest outbreak, following a religious gathering at a mosque attended by about 16,000 people.
Although new daily cases have declined steadily, schools and colleges will stay closed until June 9. Health authorities identified six clusters involving Islamic religious schools, with 635 students and staff testing positive.
Four clusters were linked to the March gathering.
Coronavirus: Man freed after being jailed for visiting lover during lockdownThe president of Cyprus on Thursday ordered the release of a man jailed for breaching a coronavirus curfew to see his girlfriend, officials said.A ... Coronavirus
Coronavirus: UAE cases climb over 21,000 with 698 new cases, 6,930 recoveriesThe United Arab Emirates has recorded a steady increase of 698 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, raising the total to 21,084, the health ... Coronavirus
India to widen use of coronavirus tracing app, raising privacy concernsIndia is aggressively pushing a state-backed contact tracing app to fight the spread of COVID-19, raising fears that the world’s second-most ... Coronavirus