Bangladesh lifts curbs on mosque prayers as lockdown eases

Bangladesh lifts curbs on mosque prayers as lockdown eases

Dhaka: Bangladesh will allow Muslim worshippers to attend prayer congregations in mosques from Thursday onwards as the government continues to ease the lockdown restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, mosque authorities and the worshippers must comply with a set of safety protocols to hold congregations, bdnews24 quoted the Religious Affairs Ministry as saying on Wednesday.

In keeping with the hygiene rules to reduce the risk of contagion, mosques are not allowed to use common carpets for prayers while devotees are required to carry individual prayer mats from home.

Mosques must be cleaned with disinfectants before every prayer session – five times a day and also install hand-washing facilities equipped with soaps or provide hand sanitisers at the entrances, said the Ministry.

It added that worshippers must wear masks to the mosques while maintaining a space of at least three feet between each other when they line up for the prayers.

Children, the elderly, any sick person or those engaged in treating the sick will not be allowed to participate in congregations

Meanwhile, mosque leaders are not allowed to organise Iftar gatherings or Sehri on the mosque premises in line with the social distancing rules.

Failure to comply with these guidelines will be met with legal action, bdnews24 quoted the Ministry as saying.

Bangladesh announced a nationwide lockdown to enforce social and physical distancing norms on March 26 amid a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.

The government subsequently restricted congregations at mosques to a maximum of five worshippers for the daily prayers.

COVID-19 cases have surged to 11,719 in Bangladesh, with 186 deaths. (IANS)