An aerial view of the Grand Mosque on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia April 24, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: More than 1,500 mosques are due to reopen Sunday in the holy city of Mecca amid strict health precautions after three-month closure prompted by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Late last month, mosques reopened across Saudi Arabia, except in Mecca, for congregation prayers as part of a phased plan for gradual return to normal.

On Sunday, nearly 1,560 mosques in Mecca will reopen for worshippers starting from the Fajr prayer. The branch of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Mecca has readied the city’s mosques for the planned reopening by putting in place precautions that include the use of personal prayer rugs, and keeping distancing among worshippers.

The ministry has hired agencies to sterilise and clean up the places of worship during their shutdowns.

Volunteers have worked over the past days in implementing precautionary steps inside Mecca’s mosques including pasting signs on carpets showing worshippers distancing while they offer prayers.