Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mosque in Mecca will be closed to worshippers on the upcoming Arafat day and Eid al-Adha as part of preventative measures to combat the novel coronavirus, the assistant commander of the Hajj security forces for the Grand Mosque and its premises said on Tuesday.

“The suspension of prayers in the Grand Mosque and its outer premises will continue. We invite people of Mecca to break their fast on the day of Arafat in their homes,” Maj. Gen. Mohammed bin Wasl al-Ahmadi said.

Arafat day marks the second day of the annual Hajj pilgrimage and comes a day before Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Adha commemorates the day prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command.

Both are national holidays in most Muslim countries.

The first stage of planning for the upcoming Hajj was completed, al-Ahmadi added.

As part of precautionary measures, specific pathways for circumambulation of the Kaaba and the saee ritual – going to and from the two mountains of Safa and al-Marwa – have been defined, according to the Maj. Gen.

Individuals with official person will be the only ones allowed to enter the Grand Mosque area.

“We have mainly focused on the health aspect this year due to the exceptional situation. The remaining stages will be implemented in the coming days,” said Maj. Gen. Al-Ahmadi.