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COVID-19: Congregational prayer ban in NW Pakistan

5 or less worshippers allowed to perform prayers at mosque in bid to stem coronavirus

Islamuddin Sajid   | 31.03.2020
COVID-19: Congregational prayer ban in NW Pakistan FILE PHOTO

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

One of the provincial governments in Pakistan banned congregational prayers on Tuesday in mosques for an indefinite period in an attempt to control the spread of coronavirus.

The decision was made after consultation with religious leaders and scholars, according to a notification by the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provincial government.

"Only five or fewer people designated for masjid Pesh e imam [spiritual leader] Moazzin [the person who calls for the prayer], Care-Taker shall offer prayers by Jammat and that the general public will offer their prayers at their respective homes," said the notification.

The order will take effect immediately and shall apply to all congregations until further notice.

The southern Sindh, northeastern Punjab and southwestern Balochistan provincial governments last week banned prayers and other religious gatherings in mosques.

The capital of Islamabad also issued similar orders.

The move followed a countrywide lockdown that entered day nine Tuesday, forcing millions to stay at home.

The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan rose to 1,914 with 26 deaths.

About 221 cases have been reported in KP, 676 in Sindh, 676 Punjab, 153 in Balochistan, 58 in Islamabad, 148 in Gilgit Baltistan and six cases from Pakistan administered Kashmir.

Fifty-eight patients have recovered and discharged from hospitals.

The global death toll from the virus climbed to near 41,000, according to figures compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The virus, known as COVID-19, which emerged in Wuhan, China in December, has spread to at least 179 countries and regions around the globe, while confirmed cases have exceeded 826,000.

More than 174,000 patients have recovered.

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