Coronavirus: cleaning operation under way at UAE mosques
Date: 15-03-2020

A clean-up operation is under way at mosques across the country to help curb the spread of coronavirus. Places of worship and Quran centres in the Emirates will be sterilised as part of efforts to safeguard public health, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf) said on Wednesday. Carpets, books, shelves and podiums used by imams are being replaced with new furniture which is easier to clean.

The move comes a day after Muslims in the UAE were told not to attend prayers in mosques if they are feeling unwell or their immune system has been compromised. The country’s Fatwa Council on Tuesday said anyone at risk of potentially contracting coronavirus – including senior citizens, those suffering from a respiratory disease and people who have weakened immune systems – should avoid going to mosques and pray at home instead.

"In order to continue with the UAE efforts to fight the new Covid-19 [virus] and in light of the Fatwa Council's recent fatwa, the authority has taken a number of measures," Awqaf said. "The authority has started sanitising all of its branches, related facilities and Quran centres around the country."

Awqaf has organised a number of workshops to educate imams on "how to take the necessary precautionary measures to deal with coronavirus, and to educate society on what needs to be done". The authority said it was acting in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health and Prevention.