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UAE announces gradual reopening of mosques, other places of worship from 1st July

29 Jun, 2020: The UAE government today announced that mosques, prayer spaces, and other places of worship will gradually reopen nationwide from 1st July and operate at 30 percent capacity. The development comes in coordination with relevant federal and local authorities who continue to take all considerations for precautionary and preventive measures.

However, prayer spaces located on motorways, industrial areas, labour camps, cooperative societies, commercial centres and parks twill all remain closed until further notice.

The development was announced during the UAE government’s regular media briefing today wherein Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, official spokesperson of the UAE Government, and Dr. Saif Juma Al Dhaheri, Spokesman for the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) provided an update on Covid-19 developments and the measures taken to reduce its impact.

Al Shamsi said that the daily average rate of recoveries exceeds 660 cases, heralding the tireless efforts made by the medical staff in all UAE healthcare facilities, including doctors and nurses.

She noted that more than 43,551 additional Covid-19 tests were conducted among UAE citizens and residents, resulting in the detection of 449 new cases, taking the total number of infections in the country to 48,246.

Al Shamsi said an additional 665 individuals have fully recovered from Covid-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to more than 37,076, with a total of 10,856 individuals still being treated, most of whom are in stable condition.

She also announced the death of one individual as a result of Covid-19 complications, taking the total number of fatalities in the country to 314.

Dr. Al Shamsi expressed her sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and wished current Covid-19 patients a speedy and full recovery.

"All UAE departments and institutions are forging ahead with all measures needed to ensure a safe return to normalcy across all fields," she said. "However, we are in a critical period that requires enhanced awareness and increased cooperation from all community members."

Addressing the briefing, Al Dhaheri said the decision to reopen places of worship does not include prayer spaces located on motorways, industrial areas, labour camps, cooperative societies, commercial centres and parks; these will all remain closed until further notice."

He added, "Reopening places of worship is due to the tremendous efforts made by all relevant departments who initiated the Covid-19 testing of all mosque imams and workers in places of worship.

"Friday prayers will remain suspended in all mosques until further notice and therefore mosques will remain closed on Fridays only," he said. The public is again instructed to comply with precautionary and preventive measures while coming for prayers, including adhering to a minimum 3-metre safety distance between worshippers, and avoiding congregations and handshaking in all forms.

"All should perform ablution at home and hand sanitize regularly in addition to wearing face masks before coming for each prayer," he added.

"Quran recitals and readings should be from the worshiper’s own personal or electronic Moshaf," he said, noting that using communal Holy books already available in mosques is prohibited.

"Every Muslim should bring his own prayer mat and should not leave it behind or store it at mosques after prayers," he said, noting all mosque goers have to download Al Hosn app on their smart phones.

All the guidelines related to the gradual reopening of mosques will be circulated to all places of worship by the relevant authorities.

"Elderly people, including Emiratis and residents, as well as children aged under 12 years old and people with chronic and respiratory diseases are not allowed to come to mosques or other places of worship under the current circumstances to ensure their safety," he warned.

He stressed the need for all those who are living with people in contact with COVID-19 patients as well as those living with patients under treatment should not to come to mosques until they get treated in order to ensure public safety.

"Mosques and places of worship where COVID-19 cases is detected shall be closed and necessary measures shall be taken," he said.

In the meantime, Al Dhaheri announced that excursion boats, and personal and commercial yachts can now operate at 50 percent. Jet skis are to be used by only one rider.

Concluding the briefing, Al Shamsi warned that any negligence and recklessness may undo all efforts made by the nation’s first line of defence and other authorities concerned.

"Despite the successes that have been made, the current situation is beset with challenges; as the novel coronavirus is evidently capable of spreading, which means that the failure to ensure physical distancing and adhering to other precautionary measures, especially in public areas, may result in negative consequences for individuals and wider society," she said.

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