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Turkey So Far Confirmed 18 Cases of Coronavirus Disease
Ali Erbas, the Head of the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) in Turkey, said this at a news conference on Monday.
Erbas said that mosques would remain open for individuals, but not for group prayers.
“Until the danger of spreading the new type of Coronavirus disappears, it has become necessary to interrupt prayers with the community in mosques and masjids [small mosques or prayer rooms], especially Friday prayers,” Erbas said.
The decision affects tens of thousands of mosques across the country.
The Diyanet head urged the faithful to pray at home.
Noting that one of the main tenets of Islam is to protect people’s lives, Erbas recounted how the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had cautioned believers not to leave places hit by plague and to respect quarantine measures.
As Turkey ramps up measures to ward off an outbreak, the Interior Ministry ordered the closure of bars, discos and nightclubs in all 81 provinces as of Monday.
It didn’t say how long the ban, in effect from 10 a.m (0700 GMT), would last.
Turkish authorities haven’t reported any deaths from the COVID-19 disease.
It also quarantined thousands of pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia in student dormitories in the capital Ankara and the central Anatolian city of Konya.
The measure is temporary and the adhan (call to Muslim prayer) will continue at all mosques, it however said.
The Moroccan health ministry said 29 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed by Sunday night. (dpa/NAN)
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