Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia allows mosques to reopen for Friday prayers

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Saudi Arabia will allow mosques to open for Friday prayers, state TV reported on Tuesday, as the Kingdom eases restrictions on movement to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Mosques will be authorized to open 20 minutes before Friday prayers and should close 20 minutes after they finish, state TV said on Twitter, citing the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

Saudi authorities said on Monday that restrictions would be lifted in three phases, culminating in a curfew ending - with the exception of the holy city of Mecca - from June 21.

The haj and umrah pilgrimages, which attract millions of travelers from around the world, will remain suspended until further notice.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia confirmed it would resume domestic flights within the Kingdom starting May 31 via its national airlines, according to a statement from the Kingdom’s General Authority of Civil Aviation, more than two months since suspending local travel as part of measures to fight the spread of coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia reported on Tuesday 1,931 new coronavirus cases and 12 deaths, bringing the total number of infections in the Kingdom to 76,726 and the death toll to 411.

The new measures come as part of the Kingdom's easing of coronavirus restrictions as it resumes some economic and commercial activities, and return to “normalcy.”

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