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Iranians wearing protective masks walk under a prevention campaign poster for coronavirus on March 4 in Tehran. Image Credit: AFP

Tehran/Cairo: Friday prayers in Iran have been cancelled across all provincial capitals amid the country’s growing coronavirus outbreak, state television said.

Friday is the main congregational day of prayer in Islam, and traditionally an important event for Iran’s clerical rulers.

The report Wednesday comes as Tehran and other areas cancelled Friday prayers last week over the outbreak.

Iran earlier announced that the new coronavirus has killed 92 people amid 2,922 confirmed cases across the Islamic Republic, the highest death toll in the world outside of China.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Minister of Awqaf Mohammad Juma has said that cancelling Friday prayers due to an outbreak of the new coronavirus is permissible.

“If the virus spreads in a Muslim country and it becomes necessary to cancel the Friday prayer, it [the prayer] can be then performed as a noon prayer at home,” the official told Egyptian private television Al Mehwar Tuesday night.

Egypt has confirmed two cases, among a Chinese and a Canadian so far. The government has repeatedly denied claims on social media about a Covid-19 outbreak in Egypt.

Juma said that religious opinions on the viral ailment, which has triggered global fears, should be based on views of health institutions.

“In the crisis of confronting the coronavirus, we should heed opinions coming from scientific bodies such as the Health Ministry and the WHO. Then, the religious opinion should come from the specialised religious agencies, not from those seeking fame,” he added.

He vowed unspecified action against self-styled preachers accused of spreading panic among the public with their talk on the virus.

“It is important to listen to specialists: the doctors in medicine and the engineers in engineering, etc,” the official said. “We will deal with the controversial preachers seeking fame on social networking platforms.”