Morocco: All religious gatherings (Moussems) cancelled over Coronavirus fears

The Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs announced on Wednesday the cancellation of all religious gatherings, locally known as moussems, to avoid the spread of the covid-19.

The ministry’s decision actually came in response to the mounting fears of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The ministry confirmed the events are canceled regardless of the size of the gatherings. However, the ministry did not mention Friday prayers at mosques.

The ministry underlined that this decision was taken in accordance with the instructions of Sharia (Islamic Law) relating to the protection of souls and bodies against any damage, and in line with medical warnings and advice against large gatherings.

The ministry called on the Ulema (theologians), preachers as well as imams (religious leaders) to raise the awareness of people to the means of preventing contamination, mainly by respecting hygiene rules.

Morocco has confirmed six cases of the virus so far.

The two first coronavirus cases reported concerned two Moroccans, a 39-year old man and an 89-year woman, who both came from Italy, the epicenter of Europe’s coronavirus epidemic. The old woman, who was suffering from chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases passed away on Tuesday.

The four other cases are three French tourists, a couple and their daughter, who arrived in Marrakech and a French-Senegalese woman who arrived in Fez.

Part of the measures adopted to avoid the spread of the virus, Morocco formally banned all gatherings of more than 1,000 people in confined spaces, prompting the cancellation of several sporting, cultural and artistic events, such as the International Agricultural Exhibition of Meknes (SIAM) and the Crans Montana Forum in Dakhla.

Morocco also decided to halt temporarily all flights and maritime links with Italy, currently under lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In January, the Moroccan carrier suspended direct flights to Beijing.

Globally, more than 4,616 people have died so far from the coronavirus and over 126,000 cases have been confirmed, according to the World Health Organization.

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