FILE- Muslims attend Friday prayers at Al Azhar mosque in Cairo on December 7, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
CAIRO - 20 March 2020: Al-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb decided on Saturday to suspend Friday prayers and congregational prayers for the Muslims at Al-Azhar Mosque downtown Cairo for two weeks, as a preventive measure against the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
Six days ago, the Grand Imam issued a fatwa [Islamic decision] saying that the cancellation of Friday prayer and all congregational prayers are permissible amid the current health crisis.
Egypt’s Ministry of Awqaf [Endowment] closed Al Sayeda Zainab Mosque, one of the most important and historical mosques in Old Cairo, after a large number of worshippers mobbed outside the mosque following the Friday prayer, the ministry announced in a statement on Friday evening.
The ministry also added that the closure was decided to prevent possible gatherings by Muslims on the anniversary of the birthday of Zeinab, the granddaughter of Prophet Muhammed [Peace and Blessing be Upon Him] due on March 24, 2020. The closure of the mosque would last until the return of the study at schools and universities.
Egypt’s Ministry of Health announced on Friday evening that 29 new coronavirus cases were confirmed, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 258, including 8 deaths so far. However, the number of recovered people reached 60 cases.
As yet the global infected cases of the virus reached 283,268 people and 11,829 deaths were reported, while the recovered cases rose to 93,535. On March 10, 2020, the virus was announced a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.
The Egyptian government is taking gradual steps in dealing with the coronavirus spread, starting from banning the study at schools and universities and suspending the international flights to the end of March. Recently, All restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, casinos, night clubs, bars, shopping centers (malls), and other local shops will shut down from 7:00 pm (Cairo time) to 6:00 pm across the nation as of Thursday until March 31.