Coronavirus: heavy disinfection at UAE mosques before July 1 reopening

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Municipality has undertaken an extensive disinfection programme in mosques before their reopening tomorrow.

A video shared by the municipality shows workers carrying out disinfection operations.

Walls, doors, carpets, entrances, stairs, shelves and books have been disinfected, said Mohammed Ali Al Falasi, executive director of the Mosques Affairs Sector in Dubai.

All imams, muezzins and mosque workers have taken the Covid-19 test and are free of the virus.

Places of worship will reopen across the UAE amid strict precautionary measures, authorities announced on Monday.

Mosques, temples and churches were closed on March 16 to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

On Monday, Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, spokesman for the National Authority for Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management, said most mosques would reopen for daily prayers but Friday prayers were not permitted yet .

He said worshippers should perform ablution at home before arriving for prayer at the mosque, where the capacity will be capped at 30 per cent.

Other safety measures include worshippers keeping a distance of at least three metres from one another, wearing face masks and a ban on intimate greetings.

Worshippers must bring their own copy of the Quran and have Al Hosn app downloaded on their mobile phones.

“The reopening of the mosques to worshipers in Dubai [comes with] a plan consisting of eight instructions for worshipers to adhere to and nine general [ones] to allow prayers in mosques,” said Al Falasi.

Mosques will remain open only from the time of azan until the end of obligatory prayer in congregation.

Meanwhile, certain churches in the country are expected to delay their reopening.

Mosques in the UAE will open from Wednesday. Al Warqaa Mosque has started preparing for social distancing. Reem Mohammed/The National

Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh temple in Dubai has put safety measures in place, as places of worship hope to open soon. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh temple in Dubai has put in place safety measures, as places of worship hope to open soon. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Al Warqaa Mosque. Reem Mohammed/The National

Nad Al Sheba mosque. Reem Mohammed/The National

The sun sets over a mosque in RAK. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Nad Al Sheba mosque. Reem Mohammed/The National

Nad Al Sheba mosque. Reem Mohammed/The National

Al Warqaa Mosque’s minaret. Reem Mohammed/The National

Nad Al Sheba mosque. Reem Mohammed/The National

Nad Al Sheba mosque. Reem Mohammed/The National

Nad Al Sheba mosque. Reem Mohammed/The National

Al Farooq Omar Bin Al Khattab mosque, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Fr Reinhold Sahner, parish priest at St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Dubai’s Jebel Ali, said wearing a face mask makes it impossible to administer holy communion during the mass service.

“We have a certain list of requests that we need clarification on before we can reopen,” he said.

“People cannot receive holy communion and all the new rules about reopening are for the mosques and evangelical churches, where the service is totally different.”

Fr Sahner said he had been in close contact with St Mary’s Catholic Church in Dubai where the situation was the same.

“There are still a lot of open questions that we need to be able to answer,” he said.

Coronavirus outbreak

“Until then we will remain closed.”

St Mary’s Catholic Church will also not reopen until it receives clarification from the Community Development Authority (CDA) on how it can serve holy communion.

“Holy communion is distributed in either the hand or the mouth, so we are awaiting information about how we can do if everyone has to wear gloves and masks at all times,” said James Joseph, head of the Liturgical Council at the church.

“We have submitted a proposal to the CDA about how we will reopen and are awaiting a response.”

He said the church could hold up to 400 people for each service after complying with social-distancing measures.

Updated: June 30, 2020 01:22 PM

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