Saudi Arabia reopens mosques

Photo from AsiaNews.IT

After more than two months, mosques in Saudi Arabia opened its doors for the first time this week following the decision of authorities to ease lockdown restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is great to feel the mercy of God and once again call people for prayers at mosques instead of at their homes,” said Abdulmajeed al-Mohaisen in a report from AsiaNews

The report said worshippers headed to mosques, wearing protective masks and personal prayer mats, avoiding handshakes and staying two meters apart.

In a tweet, the kingdom’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs noted that "worshippers rushed to the home of God to perform their obligatory duty (prayers) after the reopening of mosques."

The ministry also posted a video showing a mosque with many worshippers wearing face masks and reaching out for a large bottle of hand sanitizer after prayers.

The authorities urged mosques to avoid crowding and handing out of food and drinks, and using incense. However, in some places, people failed to respect the rules.

A ban remains in place for pilgrimages (Hajj and Umrah), which usually attract millions of people from all over the world every year.

So far Saudi Arabia, a nation of about 30 million, has reported more than 83,000 cases of the novel coronavirus with 480 official deaths, the highest numbers among Gulf states.