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Thursday, 09 April 2020

Egypt limits Friday sermon to 15 minutes to prevent coronavirus spread

Ahram Online , Tuesday 10 Mar 2020
File photo: People attend Friday prayers at Al Azhar mosque in the old city of Cairo  (Reuters)
File photo: People attend Friday prayers at Al Azhar mosque in the old city of Cairo (Reuters)
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Egypt's religious endowments ministry announced on Monday that the duration of prayer services in mosques would be restricted to limit the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.

The ministry said the time between reciting the first call to prayer, the adhan, and the second call to prayer which immediately precedes the prayer, the iqama, would be limited to ten minutes, and five minutes for the sunset al-maghrib prayer.

According to new directives, the maximum time for the Friday sermon preceeding the prayers should be 15 minutes, adding that this period should not be exceeded "under any circumstances."

Sermons normally range from 15 to 20 minutes, but can often exceed that. 

Mosques with outdoor spaces will hold Friday prayers outside, as an additional preventive measure.

The Egyptian government yesterday ordered large public gatherings be cancelled as part of a series of preventative measures to thwart the potential spread of the virus.

Cultural activities and public sporting events have since been cancelled or postponed.

Egypt has also raised the alert level at hospitals, airports, and land ports, along with suspending flights to many countries that have seen an outbreak.

A total of 59 cases have been confirmed in Egypt so far.

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