People wear protective face masks amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walk in front of the closed El Sayeda Zainab Mosque near markets that sell traditional Ramadan lanterns, in Cairo, Egypt, April 12, 2020. (Reuters)
Egypt's mosques will remain closed until no new coronavirus cases are detected, a statement by the religious endowments ministry read.
The ministry said on Wednesday it told its workers to maintain the closure of mosques to protect the public from the threat of the coronavirus.
“The closure of mosques and suspension of congregation prayers continues to be applied until the reason for the closure no longer exists and no new cases are reported,” it said.
It added that holding Friday congregations despite the closure is "wrong, a sin," and an encroachment on religion and the state.
Egypt ordered the closure of mosques and churches on 21 March for two weeks in a move aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The closure was extended indefinitely at the end of March over the spread of the pandemic amid concerns that the virus would affect the people during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, which begins on 24 April.
The Egyptian authorities said all congregational religious activities, including communal prayers in mosques, will continue to be suspended during Ramadan.
Other public activities planned for Ramadan, such as charity banquets for the poor to break their fast, have also been suspended.
The precautionary measure was preceded by the suspension of schools, universities and air traffic.
A two-week night curfew which first began on 25 March was extended until 23 April.
Egypt on Tuesday reported its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases with 160 new infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,350.
The death toll now stands at 178, including 14 fatalities reported on Tuesday.