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CAIRO: Prohibiting children, wearing face masks and closing toilets are some of the rules that Egyptian mosques must follow during the coronavirus pandemic, as a parliamentary committee discussed plans to welcome worshipers again on Wednesday. .
A number of members of the Religious Affairs and Endowments Commission supported the Ministry of Awqaf’s plan to open mosques on condition that the Ministry of Health confirms that the virus is no longer a threat.
“By opening all the mosques, we are helping to reduce the overcrowding of the mosques, because if we only open a percentage of the mosques in the country, it will increase the number of worshipers who will visit them, instead of spreading them out among many mosques in the country. the country, “said committee secretary Omar Hamroush. “It is better that all mosques operate while taking the necessary precautions and preventive measures to prevent the spread of the virus.” He stressed the need to clean and disinfect the mosques after each of the five daily prayers.
If the health ministry gives the green light, the mosques, which were closed in March following the epidemic, will accept the faithful, but they will have to follow the regulations announced by the Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa.
They include wearing a protective mask at all times, keeping a safe distance between the rows of worshipers and so that each person has their own prayer mat. Washrooms and ablution areas will be closed and time spent in the mosque will be limited. Children will not be admitted.
The Awqaf ministry’s plan also includes a system of organizing the faithful. There must be a minimum of 1.5 meters between each person and the same distance between each row of people.
The Undersecretary of the Committee, Shoukry El-Gendy, supported the ministry’s plans for the reopening of mosques and small places of worship – the zawiyas – and the proposed precautionary measures. But he added that it depended very much on the congregations themselves.
“We are counting on the cooperation of the faithful and lovers of mosques,” he said.
He added that people’s concerns about overcrowding would be allayed because they could go to the mosque in rotation rather than everyone going there at the same time.
The decision to open mosques has not yet been discussed by the Egyptian government as discussions have been limited to the ministry and parliament. It is feared that opening mosques too early will contribute to the spread of the virus.
Dr Abdel-Samie Ahmed, who worked in a quarantine hospital, told Arab News that any decision to open mosques should be carefully considered according to the instructions issued by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization. , given the increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Egypt in recent days.
As of Wednesday, the virus had killed 1,052 people and infected 27,536.
Ahmed said that if the mosques were opened, the zawiyas should be excluded from the decision, in particular due to their limited space and the lack of adequate ventilation.

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