Few masks in packed Burkina Faso mosques as coronavirus ban lifted

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OUAGADOUGOU: Muslims, many praying shoulder-to-shoulder and without face masks, crowded mosques in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou yesterday, after the government lifted an order closing them.

Authorities ordered mosques to be closed in March as the coronavirus outbreak grew in the West African country, which as of Sunday, had recorded 652 cases and 44 deaths from COVID-19.

But the order faced opposition, particularly during the ongoing holy month of Ramadan and on Saturday about 100 people protested outside the offices of the Federation of Islamic Associations of Burkina (FAIB) to demand its withdrawal.

The FAIB, which acts as an intermediary between the government and Muslims, later said that the government had lifted the order, provided that worshippers wore masks and respected physical distancing and other health restrictions. “We cannot be in a house of God and impose our own laws,” Talla Beye, 40, a jeweller who had come to pray, said. —Agencies

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