Former Grand Imam of Mecca tweets prayer against coronavirus

Former Grand Imam of Mecca tweets prayer against coronavirus
Former Grand Imam of Mecca tweets prayer against coronavirus

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - The former grand imam of Mecca tweeted a prayer in protection against the deadly coronavirus, as Saudi Arabia denied the disease spreading into the kingdom.

"Coronavirus: a prayer from the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him," Adil al-Kalbani

, citing a prayer for protection that was said by Islam's final messenger.

"Oh Allah, I seek refuge from leprosy, madness, bodily swellings and evil disease," he added.

While prayers in Islam are not restricted to prophetic supplications, the ones directly said by the Prophet Muhammed are considered special for many Muslims.

The deadly coronavirus started in China and governments across the world have scrambled to stop a global epidemic.

Read more: Middle East stock markets hit by coronavirus panic

China on Monday extended its biggest national holiday to buy time in the fight against a viral epidemic and neighbouring Mongolia closed its border, after the death toll spiked to 81 despite unprecedented quarantine measures.

In a sign of the mounting official concern, Premier Li Keqiang visited ground-zero to oversee containment efforts in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people where the coronavirus emerged late last month.

The government has sealed off Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province, effectively trapping tens of millions of people - including thousands of foreigners - in a bid to quarantine the virus that struck amid the Lunar New Year holiday.

Twenty-four new deaths were confirmed in Hubei on Monday, and the southern island province of Hainan reported its first fatality, bringing the nationwide toll to 81, as confirmed infections swelled to more than 2,700.

The youngest infected patient was a nine-month-old baby being treated in Beijing.

Thousands more patients with flu-like symptoms were being monitored, suspected of contracting the pathogen.

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