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Closure of Courtyards at 2 Holy Mosques as Domestic Flights Suspended over Virus

Closure of Courtyards at 2 Holy Mosques as Domestic Flights Suspended over Virus

Friday, 20 March, 2020 - 06:00
The General Presidency for the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque called on the public to follow instructions
Asharq Al-Awsat

Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended prayers in the courtyards of the two holy mosques in Makkah and Medinah, and stopped all domestic flights, buses, taxis and trains for 14 days starting Saturday amid coronavirus concerns.


On Tuesday, the Kingdom said prayers have been temporarily canceled in the courtyards at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque as part of efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.


Hani Haider, a spokesman for the General Presidency for the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, called on the public to follow instructions and cooperate with the efforts to safeguard the health and safety of pilgrims and worshipers.


He added that the presidency is working with security and health authorities to prepare the mosques so that prayers can be said in a safe and healthy environment.


On Friday, state news agency (SPA) quoted a source in the Interior Ministry as saying that the 14-day suspension of all domestic flights, buses, taxis and trains comes as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus.


Only flights related to humanitarian and necessary cases, medical evacuation aircraft and private aviation would be allowed, provided that they have the necessary permits issued by the Civil Aviation Authority, SPA said.


Also exempted from the travel ban are buses belonging to government agencies or public or private health facilities, and commercial establishments transporting their employees, or those used for health, humanitarian or security purposes, it added.


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