DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh on Saturday reimposed restrictions on mosques and other places of worship amid a surge in coronavirus cases and fatalities.

Limits have been set on the number of people allowed at places of worship in areas designated as “red zones,” the Religious Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

In the capital Dhaka, areas with over 60 COVID-19 patients per 100,000 people have been classified as red zones, while the number is down to 10 for other areas around the country.

Urging residents of these zones to pray at home, the ministry said only 10 people will be allowed to offer Friday congregational prayer at mosques, and only five will be allowed for daily prayers.

They will include the imam (prayer leader), muezzin (person who makes the call to prayer), and two other mosque officials.

The ministry said Muslims living in the red zones can offer regular afternoon, or Dhuhr, prayer at home instead of the Friday congregational prayer at mosques.

Other religious groups will also have to follow the directives and abstain from religious functions at places of worship in red zones, the statement added.

The ministry warned that legal action will be taken against anyone who violates the rules.

The government’s decision came as Bangladesh registered 2,856 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, taking its total past China’s to 84,379.

The country’s death toll increased by 44 to 1,139, according to authorities.

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