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Workers clean the Grand Mosque, in Mecca Image Credit: AP

Dubai: The Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, has been closed after Isha prayers. The mosque will stay closed overnight and will reopen one hour before Friday’s Fajr prayers.

The move is part of precautionary measures taken by Saudi Arabia's authorities to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus and protect Umrah pilgrims who came to the kingdom before the entry ban.

Courtyard closed

The courtyard around the holy Kaaba and the Mas'a, a distance between Al Safa and Al Marwah, will remain closed during the period of the Umrah ban. Prayers will be inside the Grand Mosque only.

On Wednesday, Saudi authorities temporarily banned Umrah pilgrimages to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina for Saudi citizens and expatriate residents due to concerns over Covid-19.

The authorities said that the decision would be reviewed regularly and reversed if the situation changes.

The decision to restrict pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina came after Saudi Arabia suspended entry of people from countries where coronavirus has spread.

Zamsam water well closed

Zamsam water well will also be closed. Worshippers will not be allowed to bring in food or beverages. They will neither allowed to stay in the mosque for Itikaf, a practice in the Islamic faith. It consists of a period of retreat in a mosque, for a certain number of days in accordance with the believer's own wish.

The precautionary measures include the closure of the old mosque in the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, including Al Rawdah Al Sharifa, as well as the closure of Al Baqi cemetery, the oldest and one of the two most important Islamic graveyards located in Medina.