Saudi Arabia to allow mosques to open for Friday prayers

Saudi Arabia will allow mosques to open for Friday prayers, state TV has reported, as the kingdom eases restrictions on movement to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Mosques will be authorised to open 20 minutes before Friday prayers and should close 20 minutes after they finish, state TV said on Twitter, citing the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

Saudi authorities said on Monday restrictions would be lifted in three phases, culminating in a curfew ending – with the exception of the holy city of Mecca – from June 21.

Prayers will also be allowed to resume in all mosques outside Mecca from May 31, the interior ministry said in a series of measures announced on state media.

The first phase, starting on Thursday, will see the 24-hour curfew reduced to 15-hour long – 3pm to 6am – countrywide.

Free movement between regions and some retail and wholesale activities, including malls, will be allowed to resume.

Saudi Arabia had imposed 24-hour curfews on most towns and cities but eased them for the start of the fasting month of Ramadan. The 24-hour curfew was reimposed during the five-day Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, which began on Sunday.


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