Saudi Arabia reopens the two holy mosques after sterilization amid coronavirus

Cleaners wear protective face masks, following the outbreak of the coronavirus, as they swipe the floor at the Kaaba in the Grand mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, March 3, 2020. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia re-opened early morning Friday the two holy mosques after they were temporarily closed for sterilization amid the coronavirus outbreak, al-Ekhbariya state TV reported.

The Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina were closed after Thursday’s night prayer for cleaning and sterilization.

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However, the courtyard around the Kaaba, known as the mataf, and the pathway between al-Safa and al-Marwah will remain closed for the duration of the suspension of the Umrah pilgrimage which was declared as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The authorities said prayer will only be permitted from inside the mosque.

Saudi Arabia had confirmed five coronavirus cases as of Thursday, all of whom had arrived in the Kingdom through Bahrain or Kuwait, originally coming from Iran.

A Saudi Arabian official condemned Iran for not stamping the passports of Saudi nationals entering Iranian territory, and reaffirmed that Saudi citizens should not travel to Iran for any reason, stressing that serious legal actions will be taken against those who commit this act going forward.

Al-Ekhbariya state TV showed a video of the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina after they were re-opened early morning on Friday.

 

Saudi Arabia had announced on Wednesday temporarily banning entry of its nationals and residents to Mecca to perform Umrah pilgrimage or to visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

That came a week after the Kingdom suspended entry of international travelers aiming to perform Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca or to visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Media, in addition to tourists traveling from countries where the coronavirus poses a risk as determined by the Kingdom’s health authorities.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57
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