A boy walks past a group of men conducting Al Asr afternoon prayers at an open garden, as Egypt shut down mosques due to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cairo, Egypt March 28, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt will extend a temporary closure of mosques to the customary five daily prayers and Friday congregations over coronavirus fears indefinitely , the endowment minister said on Sunday.
Egypt ordered all mosques and churches to shut their doors to worshipers on 21 March for two weeks in a drastic move aimed at curbing the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
The suspension will be extended and mosques will remain “completely shut until the cause of the closure” disappears, Minister of Endowment Mohamed Gomaa said, according to a cabinet statement.
Last week, Egypt declared a two-week nighttime curfew from 7 pm to 6 am to contain the spread of the virus. Authorities have also shut cafes, gyms and sporting clubs in a bid to limit large gatherings. Restaurants are only restricted to deliveries.
The country also extended an ongoing suspension of schools and universities that was due to end later this month for an additional two weeks. International flights, which were halted on 19 March, will remain grounded until mid-April.
Egypt has registered 576 coronavirus cases, including 36 fatalities.