Pilgrims are seen at the Prophet Mosque in Medina in this file picture. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz has approved a plan for reopening the Prophet Mosque in the holy city of Medina to worshippers starting from Sunday under strict health precautions against the novel coronavirus.

Beginning from Sunday, congregation prayers will be allowed again in mosques across Saudi Arabia except in Mecca as part of the kingdom’s plan for gradual return to normal life.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques said that its head Shaikh Abdul Rahman Al Sudeis has endorsed the plan for the gradual reopening of the Prophet Mosque after the king’s approval.

The reopening will be limited to courtyards and expansions, not the old building of the holy site, the presidency added.

Worshippers will have access to maximum 40 per cent of the mosque’s capacity, it said.

As part of precautions against coronavirus, rugs will be removed from the accessible areas of the mosque, with prayers to be performed on the marble floor.

In March, Saudi authorities suspended prayers in the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina amid a series of precautionary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.