Saudi Arabia reopens 90,000 mosques but Mecca’s still closed

Riyadh, May 31 (efe-epa).- Saudi Arabia on Sunday reopened mosques and resumed railway trips as part of the second phase of lifting the coronavirus restrictions, an official said.

For the first time since late March, faithful were allowed to perform the congregational prayers in 90,000 mosques across the kingdom, except for Mecca’s, the state-run SPA news agency said.

Mecca, home of the Haram Mosque and the Kaaba, has been excluded from the plan to lift the coronavirus restrictions.

Devoted Muslims returning to the mosques, however, had to respect rules aimed at preventing the spread of the virus, including two-meter distancing from each other and the closure of bathrooms, where people perform the pre-prayer ablutions.

The precautionary measures also included the temporarily removal of printed Quran worshippers had to wear face masks and bring their own mats, according to the SPA.

Saudi railways resumed trips as part of the second of a three-phase reopening plan.

Passengers seats have been relocated to a diagonal position, among other precautionary measures that included temperature checks, according to the source.

The government unveiled its lockdown easing strategy last week.

It came following a 96-hour curfew imposed during Eid al-Fitr, which culminates the holy month of Ramadan, following a surge in infections during the month of fasting.

Besides ending the round-the-clock curfew, phase one, which came into force on 28 May, included the resumption of interprovincial travel by private vehicle.

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