Kuwait closes mosques, asks worshippers to pray at home - GulfToday

Kuwait closes mosques, asks worshippers to pray at home


A family wear protective face masks, as they arrive at a makehsift coronavirus testing centre at the Mishref Fair Grounds in Kuwait City on Thursday. Reuters

Kuwait's religious authorities asked Muslim worshippers to pray at home on Friday as the emirate prepares to enter a period of virtual lockdown to fight the spread of the new coronavirus.

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"The doors of the mosques will stay closed," said the ministry of religious endowment in a statement, citing a religious decree, or fatwa. "The fatwa removes the need to attend prayers on Friday in mosques, and authorities having them at home, to protect the people from coronavirus."

Kuwait confirmed 20 additional cases in the past 24 hours, reporting a total of 100 to Friday, the state news agency KUNA said.

KuwaitKidsMasksA father puts a protective face mask on his son face, before entering a makeshift coronavirus testing centre at the Mishref Fair Grounds in Kuwait City. Reuters

The government announced on Wednesday that passenger flights will be cancelled for an undetermined period starting at midnight on Friday to and from Kuwait's only international airport.

The measures also provide for a two-week public holiday, ending on March 29, and the closure of gyms, public gardens and the popular Friday market. Restaurants and coffee shops are only allowed to keep delivery services open.

Vital services, including oil production, are excluded from the ruling. Kuwait National Petroleum said on Friday strategic reserves of oil products were at a "safe" level and all measures taken to deal with emergencies.

Bahrain ordered the release of hundreds of prisoners, according to the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) which linked the decision to efforts to contain the virus.

KuwaitPoliceMasksHealthy ministry workers prepare to scan expatriates living in Kuwait who returned from Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, as they arrive to a specified place to be tested for coronavirus. AFP

King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa issued a decree granting pardon for 901 prisoners. A further 585 prisoners will spend the remainder of their sentences in rehabilitation and training programmes, the state-run Bahrain news agency reported.

Dozens more cases of coronavirus have been registered in the Gulf Arab states over the past 24 hours. Saudi Arabia reported 17 additional cases taking its total to 62.

More than 700 infections have been reported to Friday in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. No deaths have been announced so far. Authorities say most of those infected had travelled to Iran, the regional epicentre of the outbreak, or been in contact with returnees.



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