Religious gatherings are among the events concerned by new regulations aiming to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Rabat – The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) asked the imams (prayer leaders) and those in charge of mosques in France to implement several preventive measures against the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, on Sunday, March 1.
In an “urgent message,” the president of the CFCM, Mohammed Moussaoui, urged the people responsible of French mosques to take some “simple but useful” measures, reports the French press agency AFP.
The Moroccan-born official recommended “avoiding shaking hands in favor of oral and remote greetings.” He also suggested “frequently washing hands,” as well as “removing multiple-use towels from the places of ablution in mosques” and “replacing them with single-use towels.”
Maghrebis, including Moroccans, are the most concerned by the new measures, as the vast majority of them are Muslims.
According to recent statistics, Moroccans are the second-largest foreign community in France, after Algerians, with more than 755,000 Moroccan-born citizens living in the European country, excluding those who have obtained French nationality.
Islamic places of worship are not the only religious establishments concerned by preventive measures against the coronavirus. Archbishops in Catholic churches are also urging the implementation of measures, including “emptying the holy water fonts.”
France has currently recorded 130 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two deaths, making it the third most-affected European country, behind Italy (1,694 confirmed cases and 34 deaths) and Germany (150 confirmed cases).
On Saturday, February 29, French authorities decided to cancel “all gatherings of more than 5,000 people in a confined environment and some external events.”
The canceled events include the Paris half-marathon, planned for Sunday with more than 44,000 registered runners, and the final day of Paris’ annual agricultural fair.
Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019, countries all over the world have made significant efforts to tighten their health control and border patrols. However, the contagious virus has now reached all continents.
At the time of writing, there are 89,766 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across the world and 3,056 deaths linked to it.
The most affected country is China, the epicenter of the epidemic, with 80,026 confirmed cases and 2,912 reported deaths.
Other countries that exceeded 1,000 COVID-19 confirmed cases are South Korea (4,335 cases), Italy, and Iran (1,501).