Gaza replaces mosque preachers with doctors for sermon amid COVID-19

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 21, 2020
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For the first time, the blockaded Gaza Strip ruled by the Islamic Hamas movement, has replaced mosque preachers with doctors to present the weekly Friday sermon.

The specialized doctors warned the prayers of the COVID-19 outbreak, which is spreading in the world, calling on them to abide by the precautionary measures released by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

So far, the Gaza Strip with a population of over 2 million people is free of the coronavirus, according to Gaza Health Ministry.

However, local government announced a state of emergency in the Gaza Strip following a set of precautionary measures.

Rafah crossing with Egypt and Erez crossing with Israel are closed, while all travelers who passed through both crossings are now under obligatory quarantine.

Schools and universities are also closed, and all public events are suspended amid callings on Palestinians to avoid crowds and stay at homes.

Jamil Motawea, a pediatrician from the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, delivered the Friday sermon at the White Mosque in Gaza City, explaining the correct ways to follow the precautionary measures.

The 65-year-old pediatrician told Xinhua that the pandemic is a medical crisis, so it requires a doctor, instead of a preacher, to deliver related information for the people.

He added that the Gaza Strip is free of coronavirus because its residents take their responsibilities and abide by the precautionary and protective instructions.

Motawea's sermon included important instructions focusing on hygiene, avoiding unnecessary gatherings, washing hands with water, soap, and sterilizers, and abandoning shaking hands and kissing.

Mahmoud Baroud, a 52-year-old prayer from Gaza City, said he was surprised when he saw a doctor present the sermon instead of a preacher.

"We need to learn more about the precautionary measures," Baroud said.

Mohammed Ghorab, 28, said that is was a great step to let doctors spread the essential instructions among the people.

"Those measures give people reassurance and safety," he said. "Palestinian people are considered as conscious about how to protect themselves from the pandemic."

Earlier on Friday, Palestine announced a new case of COVID-19 and the recovery of 17 others in the West Bank.

Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Keileh said in a press conference held in Ramallah city that the new case was a Palestinian returning from Pakistan.

The total number of confirmed Palestinian coronavirus cases have climbed to 48 in the West Bank.

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