The main body representing Islamic religious organisations in France has called on mosques to cancel Friday prayers across the country from next week.
The French Council for the Muslim Religion had already called for the weekly prayers, which are supposed to be held communally, to be cancelled in mosques catering for more than 1,000 worshippers.
Worshippers, who were still attending mosques, should carry out ritual ablutions before prayers at home and not in the mosques as the virus was thought to survive longer on damp surfaces, the council said.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Catholic diocese of Paris said it was holding discussions on how to react to the latest government recommendations and expected to announce a decision later on Friday.
Similarly, the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, ZMD, on Friday urged cancellation of Friday Juma’at prayer services in the face of the novel coronavirus epidemic.
The aim is to slow the progress of the epidemic and to ease pressure on the country’s health services.
According to ZMD, Friday prayers and other activities in Mosques across Germany should be cancelled, at least until the end of March, after consultation with the health authorities at Federal and Regional level.