Dubai: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday suspended all congregational and weekly Friday prayers across the Kingdome’s mosques, Al Arabiya reported.
The suspension decision excludes the Muslim world’s two holiest mosques, according to the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars.
The move comes as part of the Kingdom’s precautionary measures being taken to combat the spread of coronavirus, COVID-19.
The Council of Senior Scholars affirmed that muezzins will continue to make the call despite the ban on congregational prayers.
The council called on citizens to abide by all instructions and guidelines issued by the Kingdom’s competent authorities, saying that COVID-19 risks increase with mass gatherings.
Earlier yesterday, Saudi Arabia announced 38 new cases of the coronavirus bringing the total number of infected persons to 171.
The confirmed cases include two residents in Riyadh, a Filipino and an Indonesian, who came into contact with previous cases and are currently quarantined in a medical facility in Riyadh. This is in addition to five Saudi nationals who came into contact with previous cases and are all quarantined in a medical facility in Qatif.
The cases also include a Saudi man coming from Iran and a Saudi woman coming from Iraq, both are isolated in a medical facility in Qatif, as well as a Saudi man who came from Egypt, who is quarantined in a medical facility in Dammam.
Other cases involve a Saudi man coming from the UK and another coming from Switzerland, both quarantined in a medical facility in Jeddah.
So far, there have been three cases that were cured of the coronavirus, and the rest are currently in isolation and receiving the necessary medical care.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia shut down malls except for food stores and pharmacies, and banned serving food in restaurants and cafes, but allowed delivery services and pick-up, as well as gatherings in open and closed public places including parks, beaches and the like.