The mosques in the holy city will begin to reopen their doors on Sunday, the state-run channel reported,
Saudi Arabia plans to reopen from Sunday mosques in Makkah, the holiest city in Islam, after they were closed for three months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, state television reported.
The kingdom has taken restrictive measures against the virus, particularly in Makkah, but the number of new coronavirus cases has notably increased in recent days.
“The mosques in the holy city will begin to reopen their doors to the faithful on Sunday after three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic," the state-run Al Ekhbariya channel reported, citing a decision by the Islamic affairs ministry.
Some 1,500 holy sites are preparing to welcome visitors, the channel reported, showing footage of workers disinfecting floors and carpets.
The decision comes weeks before the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah.
While the Hajj is set to be held in late July, authorities are yet to announce if it will go ahead or be cancelled.
Outside Makkah, mosques elsewhere in the country reopened at the end of May, but with strict rules imposing social distancing and other measures.
The hardest hit Gulf state, Saudi Arabia has reported over 150,000 virus cases, including nearly 1,200 deaths.
The Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site for Muslims after Saudi Arabia's Makkah and Medina, also reopened for prayers for the first time since it was closed since mid-March.
Restrictions will be lifted in three phases, culminating in the curfew completely ending — with the exception of the holy city of Makkah — from June 21, the state news agency reported in a statement early on Tuesday.
Outside those exceptional areas, curfews will be eased between 9am and 5pm (0600-1400 GMT) effective on Sunday until May 13. The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan began on Friday.
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