ANKARA 

Niger lifted a ban on all places of worship as of Wednesday imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to local media reports.

“The government on the proposal of religious leaders, after consulting the COVID-19 expert committee […] has decided to reopen places of worship from Wednesday, May 13, 2020,” the Niger Tribune quoted government spokesman Zakaria Abdourahaman as saying.

Abdourahaman also asked religious leaders and adherents to observe preventive measures such as hand washing, environmental disinfection in places of worship before every use, wearing of face masks, avoiding shaking hands and social distancing.

He also barred people showing such symptoms as fever, cough, sore throat, joint or muscle pain and breathing problems from attending services.

The West African country has a population of 22.4 million and so far recorded 854 coronavirus cases, along with 648 recoveries and 47 deaths, according to data from US-based Johns Hopkins University.

The government also decided to lift a curfew that was imposed in the capital Niamey since March.

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