Egypt suspends religious congregations in Ramadan over COVID-19

Ahram Online , Tuesday 7 Apr 2020

Mosques are to remain closed until no new coronavirus cases are registered across the nation, the religious endowments ministry said

Amro Mosque
File: Egyptians performing Tarawih prayer at night after the Isha prayer during the holy month of Ramadan in Cairo's landmark Amro Ibn Al-Aas mosque, 21 May, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's Ministry of Religious Endowments is suspending all congregational religious activities during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan, which is set to start on 23 April.

The decision comes as a precautionary measure due to the spread of the coronavirus, said the ministry.
The ministry is also prohibiting the holding of Mawa'ed Al-Rahman, which are congregational breakfast tables that offer food to the poor and passers-by at sundown in the holy month of Ramadan.
The ministry also stressed the banning of congregational breakfast ceremonies at all of its affiliated facilities, as well as banning the practice of staying in mosques for a certain number of days.
"Mosques are to remain closed until no new coronavirus cases are registered across the nation and until the Ministry of Health certifies that gatherings would no longer pose a threat to public health," the ministry said.
Egypt has suspended mass prayers at mosques and shut down churches in a move aimed at curbing the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the Arab world's most populous country.
The move was preceded by the suspension of schools, universities and air traffic.
The country also shut down malls, restaurants, coffee shops and nightclubs overnight as of Thursday 19 March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In the latest measure to stem the spread of the virus, Egyptian authorities imposed a two-week dusk to dawn curfew starting 25 March.
Egypt has so far registered 1,322 coronavirus cases, including 85 deaths. The health ministry said in a statement that the number of coronavirus patients who had retested negative for the virus has reached 396, of whom 259 have fully recovered and left isolation hospitals.
In the past six days, coronavirus infections in the country saw a huge leap with 612 cases recorded.
The country is expected to extend curfew hours on Tuesday to stem the spread of the virus.
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