SOPs violations: Faisal Masjid prayer hall sealed by Islamabad administration Federal Capital reports 422 new cases of Coronavirus, 6 deaths in one-day

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Zubair Qureshi

The prayer hall of the Federal Capital’s iconic Faisal Masjid was sealed by the capital’s administration on Sunday after violations of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were reported there in last Friday’s congregational prayers.
According to the Islamabad Capital Administration, people in Friday’s (Dec 4) congregational prayers took little care of the coronavirus protocol and health guidelines were not observed by the faithful.
As a result we are locking down the inner hall (the one with chandelier) of the mosque for an indefinite period, said an official of the ICT Admin adding the open air prayers, however, are not banned.
Prayer congregations will be held in the courtyard, he said.
The inner hall has been closed off for arrangements to ensure that SOPs laid out by the government in order to curb Covid-19 spread are followed, he further said.
Recently, President Arif Alvi issued a declaration on Dec 3, Thursday, to revive the already agreed SOPs for collective prayers in mosques and imambargahs.
The joint declaration was issued after a meeting of more than 86 clerics from the four mainstream schools of thought in the country — Barelvi, Shia, Deobandi and Ahle Hadis — who belonged to all the four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The ICT official urged religious scholars to ensure that SOPs are being followed in mosques in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The country is currently facing the virus’ second wave, which according to experts, is more “lethal” than the first one.
Islamabad on Sunday reported 422 new cases of coronavirus in the last twenty-four hours, taking the total number of infections to 32,414.
Six deaths during this period have also been reported during this period, taking the toll to 340. The city has been worst hit by the second wave of coronavirus and a number of persons including journalists, businessmen and general public have been reported to be infected with the virus.
Tariq Malik a senior reporter of the Hum News is the latest case affected by coronavirus. A couple of days earlier, upon facing problems in breathing, he was shifted to a hospital of Rawalpindi however, according to his son his health condition is improving now. “My father is out of the danger zone and I would request all his colleagues and journalist friends to pray for his quick recovery,” said he.