Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia temporarily suspends prayers in Jeddah mosques

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Saudi Arabia will be suspending prayers in all mosques in the city of Jeddah from June 6 until June 20 as part of efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic in the country, the Ministry of Interior said on Friday, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

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The announcement comes after the Ministry of Health noticed a spike in the number of cases reported in the area, according to SPA.

Saudi Arabia on May 26 announced that mosques across the Kingdom would be allowed to reopen for daily prayers and the weekly Friday prayers during the second stage of the easing of restrictions starting next Sunday, May 31, until Saturday, June 20.

At the time, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs set several mandatory guidelines for mosques, including ordering the removal of all copies of the holy Quran and other books and only opening 15 minutes before the prayer starts.

However, following the new announcement, mosques in Jeddah will have to shut their doors temporarily.

The interior ministry also announced several other restrictions, including the reimposition of a curfew from 3 p.m. to 6 a.m., banning gatherings of more than five people, and halting all workplace attendance for employees in both the private and public sector.

All essential workers and groups who were previously exempt from restrictions will also be exempt from the new measures given that they continue to adhere to precautionary rules and procedures.

An official from the interior ministry added that the number of cases in the capital Riyadh will also be monitored in the upcoming days to determine whether strict measures must be imposed, according to SPA.

However, as of now all other cities and provinces will not have restrictions reimposed, but if the situations worsens in any city or province, the ministry will be updating its rules in that area.

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