Muslims gathered in mosques across Uzbekistan on August 17 for first congregational prayers after introduction of mosque closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, says, citing the Administration of Muslims of Uzbekistan.

The worshippers reportedly maintained social distancing, wore masks, their hands were disinfected and they passed through disinfectant tunnels at entrance to the mosques.

The congregational prayers were performed after a five-month break, according to

Uzbekistan prohibited mass prayers, Friday prayers among them, since March due to coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, mosques in Tajikistan are still close for collective prayers.  In Tajikistan, mosques were closed for collective prayers on March 4 but excluding burial rites, following the decision that was made by the Council of Ulema on March 3 in connection with the danger of a coronavirus epidemic.

The proper appeal was published on the website of the Islamic Center of Tajikistan. “In order to prevent infection and the spread of the virus among the inhabitants of the country, it was decided to temporarily refuse to perform collective prayers, except for performing janaza”, the statement said.

However, the mosques reopened for collective prayers on March 20.

On April 17, the Council of Ulema (Tajikistan’s highest Islamic institution) told mosques to suspend public gatherings, including Friday prayers, beginning on April 18 to protect against the novel coronavirus.  A decision adopted by the Council of Ulema on April 17 also imposed suspension on performing Taraweeh (additional ritual prayers performed by Muslims at night after the Isha prayer during the holy month of Ramadan) and public gathering such as iftar and others.