Mosques across Egypt have ramped up precautionary measures against the coronavirus ahead of their reopening for daily prayers on Saturday.
The government will lift a number of coronavirus restrictions, including a nightly curfew, from Saturday, part of a move to curb the economic impacts caused by the pandemic.
Under the new rules, mosques and churches, which have been closed since March, will be allowed to reopen their doors, with new rules in place on hygiene.
The religious endowments ministry, which is responsible for the county’s mosques, announced on Thursday it was intensifying its sanitisation and disinfection measures in preparation for dawn prayers on Saturday.
Photos released by the ministry showed new floor signs inside mosques that indicate social distancing rules.
Other limits imposed include requiring worshippers to wear masks, bring their own prayer carpets, and perform their ablution, a cleansing ritual that worshippers complete before prayer, outside the mosque.
Mosques will be able to host the five daily prayers, but not the weekly congregational prayer on Friday afternoon, in order to avoid crowding.
Only large mosques will be allowed to reopen; small mosques, known as zawiya in Arabic, will remain shuttered.
They will be only open ten minutes ahead of the call to prayer, and shut ten minutes after the prayers conclude. All mosques must close their doors 30 minutes at most after the call to prayer.
Mosque bathrooms will remain completely shut, as will areas designated for women to pray.
Funerals and marriage celebrations will remain suspended.
Islamic shrines will be off limits under the new rules.
The new measures will see restaurants, cafes, and sporting clubs open at a maximum capacity of 25 percent.
Egypt has been witnessing steady increase in coronavirus cases, with total infections as of Thursday at 61,130 and deaths reaching 2,533.
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