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In photos: Al Aqsa mosque shutters, refugee camps disinfected as coronavirus continues to spread

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Muslim authorities shuttered the Al Aqsa mosque on Sunday until further notice leading many Palestinians to pray outdoor on the compound grounds and marking further measures to slow the advance of the novel coronavirus. 

Last week, Palestinian officials took wide-ranging steps declaring a month-long state of emergency including closing schools and religious sites, and sharp restrictions on tourism. In the city of Bethlehem, the epicenter of the outbreak in the West Bank, Palestinian and Israeli officials began a lockdown on March 5, preventing entry and exit. All international visitors were ordered to vacate hotels, with the exception of 14 with confirmed cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Palestinian worshipers pray at the Al Aqsa mosque compound after the Palestinian Authority suspended prayers to prevent the spread of coronavirus, in Jerusalem’s Old City on March 15, 2020. (Photo: Muhammed Qarout Idkaidek/APA Images)
The Palestinian Authority suspended prayers at mosques across the West Bank to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Nablus on March 15, 2020. (Photo: Shadi Jarar’ah/APA Images)

The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced Monday the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the West Bank jumped to 39, with 37 of the cases in the Bethlehem area and two in the northern city of Tulkarem.

In Gaza, no cases are reported. However, local officials built quarantine barracks near the Rafah border with Egypt and dispatched workers to spray disinfectants across crowded public areas and refugee camps.

A Palestinian worker wearing protective gear disinfects streets as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus, at al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City on March 16, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA)
A Palestinian worker wearing protective gear disinfects streets as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus, at al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City on March 16, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA)
A Palestinian car sprays sterilization gas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on March 8, 2020. (Photo: Abedalrahman Hassan/APA Images)
Palestinians wear masks during a safety campaign to spread awareness about coronavirus in a mall in Gaza City, on March 7, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)
A bakery worker wears a face mask to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, in Gaza City on March 10, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)
Palestinian workers disinfect a mall, as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of the novel coronavirus, in the West Bank city of Nablus on March 9, 2020. (Photo: Shadi Jarar’ah/APA Images)
A Palestinian worker disinfects al-Omari Mosque, as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of the novel coronavirus, in Gaza City on March 12, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)
A Palestinian worker disinfects al-Omari Mosque, as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of the novel coronavirus, in Gaza City on March 12, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)
Palestinian workers disinfect cars on the streets, as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus in the West Bank city of Nablus, on March 10, 2020. (Photo: Shadi Jarar’ah/APA Images)
A bakery worker wears a face mask at the bakery to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, in Gaza City on March 10, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

Israel’s minister of health said Monday the number of confirmed cases jumped to 255 as the country continues to impose a series of strict measures, requiring self-quarantine for two weeks for all persons entering the country and banning travelers from seven countries including Hong Kong and Macau. At least 50,000 Israelis are in self-isolation. Further countrywide quarantine measures are expected this week.

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echinococcus
echinococcus

Strange. Islam requires no “minian” for prayers — praying at home is perfectly ok. Last time I looked, mosque attendance was only required for ostentatious reputation-building or politicking.

Kate

In Islam, praying in congregation is considered to be more spiritually beneficial than praying alone. And it is not permissible for a man who is able to attend the congregational prayer in the mosque (if it is nearby, for example) to pray in his house even if he prays in… Read more »