The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has suspended all forms of daily congregational prayers and the weekly Friday prayers in all mosques as a means of curtailing the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The Council of Senior Scholars reportedly made the decision on Tuesday in a statement made available to the Saudi Gazette, a Saudi news agency.
Alarabiya, a reliable news platform for Saudi and Middle Eastern news is also reporting the development.
The Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah are, however, exempted from this ruling, the council said.
“The 25th extraordinary session of the council held in Riyadh ruled that all the mosques will remain closed on a temporary basis but the call for prayer (adhan) shall be made as usual,” the statement said.
Coronavirus officially named COVID-19, broke out in Wuhan, Hubei province of Central China in December last year.
The virus has infected over 1716 medical workers in China alone and over 94,000 in more than 73 countries, causing over 5000 death cases worldwide.
In an attempt to fight the spread of the virus, the kingdom had earlier suspended the annual pilgrimage prayers, and also imposing a temporary lockdown on its eastern Qatif area, home to a large Shia-Muslim population, to prevent the spread.
This was after it recorded 38 new cases of the coronavirus as at Tuesday as the total number infected rose to 171.
Saudi Arabia had earlier suspended all educational and Quranic activities at the mosques.