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Australia: Muslims resume congregational Friday prayers

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Muslims in Australia on Friday resumed congregational prayers, first time since March.

The congregational prayers were offered observing social distancing measures at Meadow Heights Mosque in Melbourne.

The last Friday prayers were held on March 13 at the mosque. The congregational prayers were disallowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Meadow Heights is one of the most densely populated areas of Melbourne.

The prayers were offered in groups of 50 and led by at least five different imams.

People brought themselves prayer rugs and performed prayers maintaining physical distance among them.

It was for the first time in Australia’s history that mosques were closed in March.

“It is unprecedented, it isn’t something that has needed to be done before. But I think we are living in times that do require that necessity,” senior imam Yahya Adel Ibrahim of Al Rahman Mosque in Perth’s southern suburbs had told SBS News.

Meanwhile, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday to allow travel between all the regions of the country except Western Australia by Christmas.

He said Australia’s National Cabinet had also “agreed to public health measures to ensure states and territories remain open in 2021,” ABC News reported.

However, Western Australia will retain some measures until 2021 while travelers from New South Wales and Victoria have been asked to quarantine upon arrival.

“It also is a plan that importantly embeds public health metrics in ensuring that when Australia opens safely it remains open safely,” Morrison said. “That’s incredibly important.”

Australia has reported some 27,7000 coronavirus cases since the outbreak, including 907 deaths.

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