11:57 GMT09 April 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Week-long Liturgical Celebrations for Easter, which are to start on 5 April and usually attended by thousands of people, will be held in the Vatican without the physical presence of the congregation due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Prefecture of the Papal Household has said in a statement.

    "The Prefecture of the Pontifical Household announces that because of the current global public health emergency, all the Liturgical Celebrations of Holy Week will take place without the physical presence of the faithful. Furthermore, this Prefecture informs that until 12 April the General Audiences and the Angelus presided over by the Holy Father will be available only in live streaming on the official Vatican News website", the prefecture said.

    Earlier this week, the Holy See said that Saint Peter’s Square and Basilica in the Vatican were closed for tourists in a bid to prevent the further spread of the disease.

    At the same time, the mobile unit of the Vatican Post Office in Saint Peter’s Square, the two sale points of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, the Photographic Service of L’Osservatore Romano, will remain accessible online, and the clothing warehouse will remain closed until 3 April.

    Italy remains the worst-hit nation in Europe and the area with fastest spreading number of cases in the world, despite having gone into complete lockdown last week.

    The World Health Organisation on Friday declared that the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic has moved from China, where new cases reported have drastically decreased, to Europe, where most nations are seeing a climb in infections and fatalities.

    celebration, vigil, coronavirus, COVID-19, Easter, Vatican
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