Authorities in Kuwait have temporarily closed mosques and amended the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, to include the words “pray in your homes”, as the country struggles to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Kuwait’s Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs announced on Friday that the five daily prayers usually held at mosques had been cancelled, while several social media videos showed that the adhan was now instructing worshippers not to come to mosques for congregational prayers.
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The muezzin, or person who calls for the Muslim prayer, would continue to make the call, authorities said. But instead of “come to pray”, which is typically announced, worshippers were instructed to: “pray in your homes”.
The changes are in effect until further notice, the religious ministry said.
The outbreak of the disease – officially known as Covid-19 – was labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday, as the worldwide death toll from the virus continues to grow. Total cases have surpassed 142,918 across 136 countries.
Earlier this week authorities in Kuwait announced a public holiday from 12 to 26 March, with work resuming on 29 March, but entities providing vital services have remained open.
Additionally, authorities have banned meetings in “restaurants, cafes and commercial centres”.
A halt on all commercial flights to and from Kuwait City International Airport also took effect on Friday. The flight ban, which does not include cargo flights, will continue until further notice.
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