All prayers, including the special Ramadan night prayers known as Taraweeh, will be barred from public attendance and performed mainly with staff.

General view of Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, which is almost empty of worshippers, after Saudi authority suspended umrah (Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca) amid the fear of coronavirus outbreak, at Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia March 5, 2020.
General view of Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, which is almost empty of worshippers, after Saudi authority suspended umrah (Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca) amid the fear of coronavirus outbreak, at Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia March 5, 2020. (Yasser Bakhsh / Reuters)

After suspending all prayers to the public, Saudi Arabia has now suspended Taraweeh prayers at the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Taraweeh, special night prayers performed during the holy month of Ramadan, will be held without public attendance at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, said Abdul Rahman As-Sudais, president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.

Taraweeh will be performed mainly with staff, As-Sudais said in a statement on Twitter.

The statement also said that itikaf, the Islamic practice of secluding oneself in the mosque to pray, has been cancelled at both mosques.

It also said that Umrah pilgrimage will remain suspended until further notice.

The novel coronavirus, officially known as Covid-19, has spread to 185 countries and regions since emerging in Wuhan, China last December, with the US and Europe now the hardest-hit areas.

There are more than 2.4 million cases worldwide and over 170,000 deaths. 

More than 650,000 have recovered from the virus.

Source: AA