JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance temporarily closed eight more mosques across the country on Friday as coronavirus cases continue to climb.
Imams of the mosques are also joining efforts to combat the virus, urging worshippers to take precautionary measures seriously and calling it a “religious and national duty.”
Over the past five days, 52 mosques have shut their doors because of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of those closed mosques, 38 had previously completed sanitization procedures to ensure the health of worshippers.
The ministry has intensified its efforts to monitor all mosques facilities where Friday prayers are held in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. Mosque supervisors and employees, in coordination with security authorities, NGOs and charitable institutions, are organizing the entry for worshippers into the mosques and checking temperature on entry. Sanitizers and hygiene tools are also provided by local companies.
In a social media awareness program launched by the ministry, preachers have been educating the community about disease prevention within Islamic teachings.
The Jeddah municipality has also stepped up efforts to combat the virus.
Jeddah carried out 4,523 inspection tours within 19 submunicipalities to make sure facilities and commercial centers were adhering to the precautionary measures.
“The field teams have doubled the number of inspection tours,” said Mohammed Al-Mutairi, the undersecretary for submunicipalities.
He said 168 violations were recorded and 140 facilities were closed as a result of the inspection tours. The team visited restaurants, cafes, cinemas, indoor entertainment centers, independent indoor games venues, shopping centers, wedding and event halls.
Jeddah municipality is asking people to report possible violations by calling 940 or by using the Balady app.
The Kingdom reported 353 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the national total to 372,073. According to the Ministry of Health, Riyadh had 168 of the newly recorded cases, followed by the Eastern Province (87), Makkah (34), and Madinah (14).
The death toll reached 6,424 after another four people died from the virus.
There are 2,702 active cases, 447 of which are in critical condition.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 362,947, after 305 more patients recovered from the disease in the past 24 hours.
The Ministry of Health has so far conducted nearly 13 million PCR tests since the beginning of the pandemic.
Saudi health clinics set up by the ministry as testing hubs or treatment centers have helped hundreds of thousands of people around the Kingdom since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Among those testing hubs are Taakad (Make sure) centers and Tetamman (Rest assured) clinics.
Taakad centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual, while the Tetamman clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms, such as fever, loss of taste and smell and breathing difficulties.
Appointments to either services can also be made through the ministry’s Sehhaty app.