Muslims unable to enter the holy mosques of Mecca and Medina will no longer be allowed to pray in the overflow areas outside their walls, the Saudi government decided ahead of Friday prayers in a bid to contain Covid-19 spread.
The Mecca and Medina mosques are the only two worship sites still open for prayers in Saudi Arabia. The move to restrict worship there as well comes as the desert kingdom attempts to slow the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Congregational and Friday prayers have been suspended at every single other mosque in Saudi Arabia, an unprecedented move for the devout country.
Mecca and Medina are the two holiest cities in Islam. Mecca alone draws around five million devotees every year during the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Umrah has been suspended this year.
Saudi Arabia has recorded 274 cases of Covid-19 so far. Though no Saudis have yet died from the illness, the government in Riyadh has shut down businesses and halted all international flights. All private sector work in Saudi Arabia has been suspended for 15 days as of Thursday.
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