Taraweeh prayers suspended in Mecca and Medina in efforts to contain coronavirus
Saudi Arabia has suspended Tarawih prayers at the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Tarawih, special night prayers performed during the holy month, will be held without public attendance at the Grand Mosque [Masjid al-Haram] and the Prophet’s Mosque [Masjid al-Nabawi], said Abdul Rahman As-Sudais, president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.
Tarawih will be performed mainly with staff, As-Sudais said in a statement on Twitter.
The statement also said that itikaf — the Islamic practice of secluding oneself in the mosque to pray — has been canceled at both mosques.
It also said that Umrah will remain suspended until further notice.
The novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to 185 countries and regions since emerging in Wuhan, China last December, with the U.S. and Europe now the hardest-hit areas.
There are more than 2.4 million cases worldwide and over 170,000 deaths. More than 647,000 have recovered from the virus, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.