Mokhtar Gomaa, the religious endowment ministry
Egypt’s Ministry of Endowments denied reports circulating on a number of news websites that mosques will be shutdown in anticipation of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the cabinet's media centre stated on Wednesday.
The ministry said its decision to reopen mosques for daily prayers in late June after three months of closure due to the pandemic is still in effect.
The cabinet called on media outlets to communicate with the cabinet to fact-check information before publishing news.
It stressed that houses of worship adhere to all precautionary and preventive measures that include disinfecting mosques and strict measures against violators of the anti-virus restrictions.
The ministry advises worshipers to use personal mat prayers. Entry into mosques is prohibited without face masks, it added.
The ministry also stressed adherence to social distancing during prayers and the closure of public washrooms in mosques.
Mosques will be immediately closed if worshippers or others do not abide by the procedures, the ministry said, adding that violators will be punished.
Egypt allowed a gradual reopening of mosques on 27 June after they had closed in March as part of the government’s precautionary measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Mosques opened for Friday's noon prayers on 28 August.
Government officials continue to urge the public to commit to precautionary measures against the pandemic amid a spike in daily reported cases.
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Prime Minister Mostafa Madboudly have repeatedly called on authorities to strictly enforce the country’s face mask mandate, which applies to all public transportation and indoor public spaces.
On Tuesday, Egypt reported 361 new coronavirus cases and 13 virus-related deaths, bringing the total infections count to 113,742 cases and 6,573 deaths.