COVID-19: Mosques, churches in Greece resume services
Mosques and churches in Greece have resumed services as part of the normalization process following the government's decision to ease coronavirus restrictions with worshippers required to follow social distancing guidelines.
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Most mosques reopened Saturday night with Tarawih, or special night prayers, performed during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Greece was one of the first European countries to order the closure of all schools, bars, cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, gyms, malls, cinemas, retail stores, museums, archaeological sites and hotels and received much praise for these measures.
Mosques have been closed for almost two months as part of efforts to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"Tonight, we performed the Tarawih prayer with the congregation, albeit with limited participation due to the measures," Sadik Sadik, president of the Western Thrace Mosques and Religious Officers Association, told Anadolu Agency.
"We missed praying with the congregation in our mosques," Sadik said, adding: "Hopefully, our country and the world will get rid of this pandemic as soon as possible and return to our normal lives.”
Meanwhile, "It is our responsibility to take action against the COVID-19 outbreak that threatens the world," said MP Huseyin Zeybek, a member of the Muslim Turkish minority of Western Thrace.
Reopening the mosques caused bittersweet happiness among the minority society, Zeybek added.
Greece has entered the second phase of its gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions introduced in early March to contain the spread of the virus.
The country currently has 2,834 COVID-19 cases with the death toll at 163.
After originating in Wuhan, China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 188 countries and regions, with Europe and the US currently the worst hit.
The pandemic has killed nearly 315,000 people worldwide, with more than 4.7 million confirmed cases, while recoveries have surpassed 1.7 million, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University of the US.