Islamic Lifestyle

COVID-19: Singapore shuts mosques, Friday prayers

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) has closed mosques from Friday (Mar 13) for at least five days for disinfection against the COVID-19, the authority said in a statement on Thursday.

The decision arrived after about 90 Singaporeans participated in a mass religious event in Kuala Lumpur from Feb 27 to Mar 1 that resulted in a number of individuals being tested positive for COVID-19. 

Two of those Singaporean congregants have since tested positive for the coronavirus.

MUIS said the temporary closure of mosques is a preemptive measure as the individuals who attended the event in Malaysia are regular congregants at various local mosques. 

Mosques will be closed for congregational prayers, including Friday prayers.

"Communal activities such congregational prayers (daily and Friday) may expose congregants to transmission of the virus by unsuspecting infected individuals," said MUIS.

"The Fatwa Committee has released a fatwa on the permissibility of closing mosques and suspending the Friday congregational prayer where the need arises in the interest of public health and safety."

Mosques will also cancel all activities, lectures, religious classes and kindergarten sessions from Mar 3 to Mar 27, said MUIS. 

The government statutory board advised Muslims to perform the regular noon, or dzuhur, prayers in place of congregational Friday prayer. The Friday sermon will be disseminated online. 

Singapore had 178 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as at Mar 12, according to the World Health Organisation. 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Mar 12 said in a televised address that the country faces a "serious situation" and needs to plan for a spike in COVID-19 cases. He said, however, that the situation "remains under control" and that Singapore will not raise its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level from orange to red. 

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