By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – The government Thursday banned prayers and other religious gatherings in mosques for 10 days in southern Sindh province, including Karachi, in another attempt to stem the coronavirus.
The ban that begins Friday, will go through April 5 and will apply to typical Friday prayers across the province which is home to 50 million people which has been worst hit by the pandemic, provincial information minister Nasir Hussain Shah told reporters.
Only, permanent staff, including imams, or spiritual leaders, and moazzin — the person who calls for the prayer, will be allowed to offer prayers in the mosques.
The move followed a countrywide lockdown that entered day four Thursday, forcing millions to stay at home.
The total number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan rose to 1,198, with nine deaths.
About 421 cases have been reported in Sindh.
Almost 80% of patients have a history of traveling abroad, mainly to Iran.
Twenty-one have recovered, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The data shows more than 523,000 cases have been reported in at least 175 countries since December, when the virus emerged in Wuhan, China.
The global death toll has gone more than 23,000, while over 122,000 have recovered.