TEHRAN (Iran News) – Friday prayers resumed in mosques in 146 cities across Iran with minimal risk conditions for spreading the coronavirus after being banned for more than two months.
The Policymaking Council for Friday Prayers Imams urged worshippers to respect “health protocols” for attending prayer gatherings.
The Health Ministry has said in the areas where mosques reopen, worshippers must maintain social distancing, wear masks and gloves, stay only for half an hour during prayer times, and must use their personal items, said.
Mosques must also refrain from offering food and drinks, give out hand sanitizers and disinfect all surfaces.
Iran closed off religious sites and locked down parts of its economy in March after emerging as the biggest hot spot in West Asia for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Since April 11, Iran has allowed a gradual reopening of shops and, since Monday, mosques in about 30 percent of the counties where the risk of renewed outbreaks is considered low.
Prayer gatherings will continue to be banned in major cities, including all provincial capitals, for now.
Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour urged citizens to take social distancing “more seriously” on Friday as he announced more than 1,500 new cases of coronavirus infection.
“We (Iranians) are urged to continue to follow health advice, especially social distancing, more seriously than on previous days and weeks,” Jahanpour said in televised remarks.
He said 55 new virus fatalities in the past 24 hours took the overall death toll in the health crisis to 6,541.
Jahanpour said another 1,556 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus over the same period of time, taking the country’s cases to 104,691.
On Saturday, the official tally of daily infections hit 802 – its lowest level since the start of March.
Iran’s count stayed below 1,000 for a second day, however, its caseload rebounded on Monday and has stayed above that mark on each day since then.
Since reporting its first cases in mid-February, the Islamic republic has struggled to contain the spread of the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease.
In order to contain the spread of the disease, Iran has taken various restrictive measures, without ever imposing a lockdown or quarantine.
AP and AFP contributed to this story.
- source : Iran Daily, Irannews