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Virus Forces Egyptians to Perform Friday Prayers at Home for 1st Time

Virus Forces Egyptians to Perform Friday Prayers at Home for 1st Time

Saturday, 28 March, 2020 - 11:30
The muezzin of the Abu Al Hana Mosque in the Egyptian capital calls for Friday prayers. (EPA)
Cairo - Walid Abdul Rahman

Friday noon, Egyptians performed their Friday prayers from home for the first time, as a precaution against the new coronavirus.

Dr. Mohammad Mukhtar Jomaa, Minister of Religious Endowment, confirmed that Friday prayers in mosques have been suspended. He promised to fine violators of the suspension. Last Saturday, the Ministry banned group prayers and closed down all mosques and prayer rooms for two weeks.

Dr. Ali Mohammad al-Azhari, a member of the Faculty of Islamic Creed and Philosophy at al-Azhar University, told Asharq Al-Awsat: "There is no doubt that suspending Friday prayers was painful for people, especially since this is the first Friday of this sort in Egypt, but this was necessary as a precaution for everyone's safety.”

Dr. Ali Jomaa, Egypt's former Mufti, appeared emotional Friday during a television interview shortly after Friday prayers at empty mosques.

Minister Jomaa said: "If health experts reached a consensus that crowds are the most dangerous risk for transmission and considering the virus death toll, then avoiding this death by banning groups is a legitimate demand.”

The government, meanwhile, denied turning schools into hospitals, saying photos being circulated on social media about this are actually of teachers on a break.

The Ministry of Health and Population announced that "the number of cases whose test results have turned from positive to negative for the virus has reached 130 cases".

Dr. Khaled Mujahid, the advisor to the Minister of Health and Population, announced that "seven cases have been discharged from isolation at hospital, including a foreigner and six Egyptians, after they received the necessary treatment. This raised the number of recoveries to 102 as of Thursday night.”

He reported 39 new cases, including one in a Libyan and 38 among Egyptians, all of whom contracted the virus from other patients. He said three Egyptians died of the virus in Cairo, raising the toll to 24. Egypt has counted 495 virus cases.

Cairo International Airport received two exceptional flights from London to repatriate Egyptians who wished to return to home after all regular flights were banned. All of the passengers were examined and found to be asymptomatic. They were then sent to be quarantined at home.

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