Putrajaya prepares working papers for Muslim gatherings amid Covid-19 pandemic

The government has made several proposals for Muslim gatherings in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, including shortening sermons.

PUTRAJAYA: The Prime Minister’s Department has prepared five working papers including one on Friday prayers in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak which, just hours ago, was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

Minister in charge of Islamic affairs Zulkifli Mohamad said the working papers, which would also suggest related guidelines, would be completed in two or three days’ time.

“This includes on greeting people, weddings and the handling of corpses. We have a few suggestions,” he told reporters after an event at Masjid Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin today.

On congregating for Friday prayers, Zulkifli said the department had made several proposals to reduce the risk of infection, including shortening the sermon and for ablution to be done at home.

“The mosque must also provide hand sanitisers, while any gathering must be held at venues that have not been exposed to Covid-19,” he added.

Earlier today, a public health think tank urged mosques, churches and temples to suspend weekly and regular prayer gatherings in the wake of new Covid-19 cases detected at houses of worship.

The Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy said Friday prayers, church masses and temple ceremonies should be temporarily halted.

This came after authorities confirmed that a man who had attended a massive “tabligh” gathering at a mosque was among the latest batch of Covid-19 patients, with efforts underway to track thousands of others who were at the same event.