Mosques, Churches Shut down in Palestine as Precaution against Coronavirus

All mosques and churches in Palestine, including Al-Aqsa, were shut down as precaution against Coronavirus. (Photo: via Social Media)

The Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs ordered today a closure until further notice of mosques and churches in all the governorates of Palestine, as part of ongoing efforts to curb a seemingly growing spread of novel COVID-19 (coronavirus) which has so far affected 38 people in the country.

“All prayers will be held in the open areas of the Aqsa Mosque,” the director of Al-Aqsa mosque, Omar Kiswani, told Reuters news agency on Sunday.

Mosques across the occupied West Bank called through loudspeakers for Muslims to perform the regular daily prayers at home rather than at mosques, aiming to restrict gatherings of people, according to Palestinian News Agency Wafa.

The ministry also asked local churches to ring their bells as usual but ban prayers at their premises during the current health crisis.

Palestinian Authority spokesman Ibrahim Melhem said three more cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, raising the total number of infections to 38.

Palestinian officials confirmed the first cases in Bethlehem on March 5, subsequently declaring a state of emergency and shutting down Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, while the Israeli army sealed off the city.

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

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