Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta, the country's body responsible for issuing religious edicts, said on Tuesday that any calls for gathering in the streets are religiously prohibited.
The statement came one day after dozens of people took to the streets in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria on Monday night, chanting religious slogans including “God is Greatest” and asking Allah to "lift the affliction” of the coronavirus pandemic.
The march, which covered several streets in the coastal city, has sparked ridicule and memes on social media mocking the behavior which could potentially contribute to the spread of the highly contagious virus.
Earlier this month, the government banned mass gatherings as part of measures to stem the spread of the deadly virus.
“Any call for people to gather in the streets anywhere and under any slogan or pretext is a malicious call that is religiously prohibited,” Dar Al-Ifta said in a brief statement on Tuesday.
Dar Al-Ifta said it is a “duty” under the Islamic Sharia Law to comply with official decisions to “protect people from epidemics and diseases.”
Egypt declared on Tuesday a set of stricter measures to help slow the spread of the virus, including a two-week overnight curfew starting Wednesday. It has also extended a suspension of schools and universities and prolonged a halt of air traffic.
To limit gatherings, all coffee shops will be completely shut down and restaurants will only be allowed to run delivery services.