Saudi Arabia suspends prayers at mosques in Mecca, Medina

Prayers were suspended at the Grand Mosque, pictured, and the Prophet's Mosque in Saudi Arabia. File Photo by Mohammad Kheirkhah/UPI

March 20 (UPI) — Saudi Arabia said it has suspended daily prayers and weekly Friday prayers at two mosques in Mecca and Medina because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Saudi officials this week placed increasing restrictions on congregational prayers at mosques around the country as the number of those affected with the coronavirus disease continued to tick up.

As of Thursday, Saudi Arabia had nearly 300 confirmed cases.

“The presidency and the security and health authorities decided to suspend the presence and prayers in the outer squares of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque starting Friday, as part of precautionary and preventive measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus,” a representative of the two mosques said in a statement.

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The spokesperson said the mosques are being cleaned “to perform prayers in a safe and healthy environment,” and called for the cooperation of visitors and worshipers.

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