Coronavirus is spreading at an alarming rate and countries are struggling to contain the deadly virus. As fears of Covid-19 spreads, measures are in place to make sure the infection is contained in the best possible ways. From preventing mass gatherings to screening people who might have been in close proximity of infected patients, the government alongside private companies are taking serious measures to minimise the impact of the outbreak.
Owing to the widespread of the disease, WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic and called for serious action from countries where the virus has been spread. Several countries, including India, have cancelled visas and issued a stringent travel advisory to travellers. Saudi Arabia, too, cancelled visas to the holiest Islamic sites, Mecca and Medina, which has left the busiest locations empty.
Singapore mosques temporarily closed
While coronavirus preventions are being carried out everywhere, Singapore has closed all of its mosques for 5 days after two nationals were tested positive for Covid-19. Both Singaporeans had attended a mass religious gathering in Malaysia. According to reports, around 90 Singaporeans, frequent congregants of some local mosques, had attended the gathering in late February.
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) announced on Thursday that all 70 mosques in Singapore will be closed temporarily while disinfecting of the religious sites take place. This is to prevent Covid-19 from spreading. Four mosques, namely Jamae Chulia mosque in South Bridge Road, Al Muttaqin mosque in Ang Mo Kio, Hajjah Fatimah mosque in Beach Road, and Kassim mosque in Changi Road, are already closed after they had been visited by one of the coronavirus victims.
"We need to protect ourselves, our community and our loved ones. And more so knowing the impact, the effects of Covid-19 on the seniors and the elderly. As we know, many of the people who come to the mosque are retired, senior people, and therefore we think it's important to - for the moment - prevent such big congregations in our mosques," Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said at a press conference.
This is the first time that all mosques in Singapore have been closed. The mosques and all of its activities, including congregational prayers, religious classes and mosque-based academics, will be cancelled from March 13 till 27. This means the Friday sermon and congregational prayers won't be held in Singapore mosques.
The Fatwa Committee issued a decree to allow Muslims to pray regular noon prayers while the Friday prayers remain suspended in the interest of public health and safety.
"Muslims should perform their regular noon (Zuhur) prayers in place of the congregational prayers. Friday messages will be disseminated online in place of the sermon," Muis announced.
WHO on coronavirus widespread
While declaring Covid-19 a pandemic, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the course of this pandemic can be changed if countries effectively take part in detecting, testing, treating, isolating, tracing and mobilising their people.
"We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction," Tedros said.
"We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear. This is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector," he added.