July 10, 2020

Saudi Arabia reopens 90,000 mosques but Mecca remains closed



Saudi Arabia allowed the reopening of around 90,000 mosques across the country on Sunday as part of the de-escalation of restrictions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, a plan from which the authorities have for the time being excluded the city. saint of Mecca.

For the first time since the end of March, Muslim worshipers will be able to pray in mosques across the kingdom as part of the second phase of de-escalation that began last Thursday, the official SPA news agency said.

However, Mecca, with its great mosque and the Kaaba, a sanctuary to which Muslims must make a pilgrimage, be it on the “hach”, the great pilgrimage that every devotee of Islam is obliged to make once in a lifetime, or in the “umrah” or minor pilgrimage that is done throughout the year, remain closed for the time being.

Even if the temples reopen, worshipers must wear face masks, keep a two-meter security distance, and the toilets will remain closed, and the printed copies of the Koran that were available in the mosques have also been temporarily withdrawn.

Also today and as part of this second phase of the relaxation program, the Saudi railways returned to full capacity, SPA said.

The seats have been relocated diagonally as a precautionary measure and the passenger temperature has been revised.

The Saudi government last week presented the de-escalation plan, just after 96 hours of total confinement of the population after the holy month of Ramadan, in which there has been an increase in infections.

In the first stage, on Thursday, the Saudis were able to take to the streets during the day and make inter-provincial transfers in their own vehicles.

Today part of the public and private activity is recovered, and the third phase will be activated on June 21, when most of the restrictions will be eliminated, except for the use of a mask that will continue to be mandatory.

However, the great question remains for Muslims around the world, who continue to look towards Saudi Arabia pending a final decision on whether or not there will be “hash”, which this year is scheduled for the end of July.

The Saudi government asked Muslims in early March to delay their plans to travel to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina, to see how the pandemic was evolving, but has not said anything about it since then.

This has prompted authorities in some countries with large Muslim populations such as Malaysia to request a decision from the Saudi government.

Saudi Arabia is the Arab country that recognizes the most cases of coronavirus. In the last 24 hours, it reported 1,877 new cases, bringing the total number of infected to 85,261 and the death toll to 503.

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