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Tunisia suspends Isha, Taraweeh prayers in mosques

Muslims gather at Sidi Mahrez Mosque in Tunis, Tunisia on 25 June 2017 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]
Muslims gather at Sidi Mahrez Mosque in Tunis, Tunisia on 25 June 2017 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisia's Ministry of Religious Affairs announced on Thursday that citizens are allowed to perform prayers in mosques, including the Friday prayer, outside of curfew hours.

This came in a statement issued by the ministry one day after the authorities decided to tighten curfew measures in Tunisia due to a surge in coronavirus infection rates.

On Wednesday, the country's authorities decided to increase the curfew hours in all governorates between 9 and 30 April, from 7 pm to 5 am, instead of the previous timing of 10 pm to 5 am.

The ministry announced that people are allowed to pray in mosques during the time not covered by the curfew, including the Friday prayer, with the exception of Isha prayer.

Taraweeh prayer will not be held in mosques since it coincides with the curfew. The ministry did not provide details about other procedures to be implemented over the remaining period of Ramadan (after 30 April).

READ: 3 terrorists, baby killed in 2 operations in Tunisia

The ministry stressed the necessity of taking precautions and applying preventive measures stipulated by the sanitation protocol for attending mosques, especially: "To perform wudu at home before heading to the mosque, bringing a personal prayer rug, wearing masks and maintaining the necessary distance when praying."

The ministry pointed out that the Friday prayer sermon will be limited to ten minutes, while all activities within religious facilities (mosques and Quran memorisation centres) have been suspended, including lessons and Quran dictation sessions.

As of Wednesday, Tunisia has recorded 264,994 cases of infection with the coronavirus, including 9,087 deaths and 221,545 recoveries, according to the Ministry of Health.

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