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Saudi govt closes Masjid al-Haram due to fear of coronavirus spread

Saudi govt closes Masjid al-Haram due to fear of coronavirus spread
March 5, 2020
RIYADH (92 News) – The Saudi government closed Masjid al-Haram due to fear of the spread of coronavirus on Thursday. The courtyard adjacent to Khana Ka’aba was got vacated from pilgrims and closed. As a result, ‘tawaaf’ stopped in the ‘mutaaf’. Sources said that Masjid al-Haram had been closed for spray. Ulema have strongly criticized the move to close Khana Ka’aba. Mufti Farooqul Qadri said that precautionary measures about health should be taken instead of closing Masjid al-Haram. Justice (retd) Nazir Ghazi said that Muslims should not be kept away from the House of Allah. He urged the Muslims to offer collective prayers and ‘Nawafil’. Saudi Arabia had already banned pilgrimages to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina by foreigners to also include Saudi citizens and residents due to concerns about the new coronavirus. Saudi Arabia last week halted umrah visas for foreigners and banned Gulf citizens from visiting the two holy cities because of the virus. It also barred tourists from at least 25 countries where the virus has been found, and it limited arrivals of travelers from Gulf Cooperation Council countries. So far three cases of coronavirus have been surfaced in Saudi Arabia. All the affected pilgrims hailed from Iran.