Saudi Arabia reopens 90,000 mosques, Mecca still shut


Riyadh, Jun 1 (IANS): Saudi Arabia has reopened 90,000 mosques, except for the Mecca as part of the second phase of lifting the coronavirus restrictions in the country, an official said.

For the first time since late March, worshippers were allowed to perform the congregational prayers in the 90,000 mosques across the Kingdom on Sunday, Efe news quoted the state-run SPA news agency as saying.

Mecca, home of the Haram Mosque and the Kaaba, has been excluded from the plan to lift the coronavirus restrictions.

Devoted Muslims returning to the mosques, however, had to respect rules aimed at preventing the spread of the virus, including a two-metre distancing and the closure of bathrooms, where people perform the pre-prayer ablutions.

The precautionary measures also included worshippers having to wear face masks and bring their own mats, according to the SPA.

Also on Sunday, Saudi railways resumed trips as part of the second of a three-phase reopening plan.

Passengers seats have been relocated to a diagonal position, among other precautionary measures that included temperature checks, according to the source.

The government unveiled its lockdown easing strategy last week.

It came following a 96-hour curfew imposed during Eid al-Fit following a surge in infections during the month of fasting.

Besides ending the round-the-clock curfew, which came into force on May 28, included the resumption of inter-provincial travel by private vehicles.

All restrictions will be lifted June 21, but wearing a mask in public will be mandatory.

It remains unclear when and how this process of normalization will be extended to Mecca and whether the annual pilgrimage (Haj) to the holy city by Muslims from around the world will take place this year.

The Saudi government has offered no additional guidance regarding the 2020 Hajjsince early March, when Riyadh advised Muslims abroad to delay making reservations for the journey to Mecca.

Saudi Arabia imposed some of the toughest measures in the region to contain the coronavirus, including closing its airspace and quarantining entire provinces.

Those measures, however, had an impact on the country's economy, leading the government to reduce subsidies and public investment while boosting the value added tax by 200 per cent.

Saudi Arabia has reported 1,877 fresh coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the confirmed infections to 85,261 while the death toll stood at 503.

  

Comment on this article

  • Alphonse Rodrigues, Udupi

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    In the Holy Bible, book of Esther, 1:1
    Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this :is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)
    This has been included, whole of the Middle East & parts of Africa

    DisAgree [3] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Indrakhush, Bangalore

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    Indian King Ashuthosh once ruling Horn of Africa Ethopia-Eriteria.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • chunna lagaya, Belman/Karla

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    In which movie Sir?

    DisAgree [8] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    Mecca is in Saudi Arabia ...

    DisAgree [6] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Indrakhush, Bangalore

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    Where in once King Vikramditya was ruling. Document in this regard still available in Turkey library...during Othamman Empire.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Hussain, Abu Dhabi

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    Indrakhush,

    From where do you get such valuable informations which no one else heard before ..Whatsapp university or Nagpur ?

    DisAgree [11] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ahmed, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    No one stops you from creating and enjoying your own history book.
    But don’t expect or force others to believe it.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Indrakhush, Bangalore

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    In this scanario we should uphold prayers made by shias..individually and not all together in jamaat. They pray anywhere putting mat or cardboard keeping in front if available mud from karbala orjust keep purse and than prey. Same like them even Dawood Bohri Muslims and Khoja Agha Khan Bohris are always preying alone. At last everybody's prayer listen by god..now time comes bound to do the same.

    DisAgree [14] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse


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