Morocco re-opens some mosques, even as infections grow

RABAT, MOROCCO (AP) — Moroccans across the country performed their first weekly prayers in more than seven months as authorities eased some restrictions aimed at containing the virus pandemic.

Morocco announced the suspension of prayers in mosques back in March to limit the spread of the coronavirus, including the five daily prayers and the Friday prayers.

The restrictions were lifted for 10,000 mosques across the country last Friday, but another 40,000 remain closed because of growing new infections.

Scores of worshippers attended the Friday prayers in the Hay Riyadh mosque in the capital Rabat amid strict precautionary measures. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs rolled out detailed precautions for worshippers, including limiting the duration of sermons to 15 minutes and closing mosques immediately after prayers.

Morocco has reported over 170,000 virus infections since the outbreak of the pandemic and 2,878 related deaths, well above the confirmed virus figures in other countries in the region, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.