Eid al-Adha prayer in Male' will not be held in stadium, but in mosques

July 10, 2020: Friday prayers were performed in Male' City for the first time after almost three months due to the COVID-19 lockdown. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Islamic Ministry has announced that the Eid al-Adha prayer in the Maldivian capital this year will not be performed in a large congregation at the stadium.

Eid al-Adha this year is expected to fall on July 31.

Eid prayers in Male’ City in recent times have been performed in a large congregation at the turf stadium in Maafannu district.

Islamic Ministry announced on Monday that the upcoming Eid al-Adha prayer will not be performed at the stadium as usual, but will be held at the Islamic Center and other mosques in Male’ which hold Friday prayers.

The decision was made in light of the coronavirus outbreak in the capital.

Maldives identified its first coronavirus case on March 7, and declared a state of public health emergency over the pandemic less than a week later on March 12.

While coronavirus cases had initially been restricted to resorts and safaris, and later quarantine facilities holding inbound travelers, Male’ City identified its first coronavirus case on April 15, prompting a city-wide lockdown and a nationwide ban on nonessential travel.

The populous capital quickly emerged as the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Maldives, contributing to over 90 percent of total cases.

Mosques in the capital were closed for congregational prayer on March 18.

While mosques had initially been open for individual worshippers to perform their prayers, mosques were completely closed with the emergence of the community spread of the new coronavirus in the capital in April.

They were reopened once again for individual worshippers with strict instructions to maintain physical distancing and other coronavirus control measures on June 14.

The ban on congregational prayers was finally lifted on July 1, but the performance of Friday prayer had remained suspended until July 10.

Maldives has recorded 3,302 coronavirus cases, including 50 new cases identified on Sunday.

2,534 patients have since recovered, while 15 have died from complications.

The number of active cases stands at 738.