Pope Francis officiates at the Via Crucis procession in a near empty square outside Saint Peter’s Basilica, during Good Friday.
Italy has entered a strict three-day lockdown to try to prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases over Easter. All regions are now in the red zone, the highest tier of restrictions. The country battles a third wave, with about 20,000 new cases a day. Non-essential movement is banned, but people are allowed to share an Easter meal at home with two other adults. Churches are also open, but worshippers are being told to attend services within their own regions.
For the second year, Pope Francis will deliver his Easter message to an empty St Peter’s Square. Italy’s restrictions come as countries across Europe try to control a surge in cases of the virus, while struggling with a delayed vaccine rollout. More than 110,328 people in total have died of the coronavirus in Italy, and there have been 3.6 million confirmed infections.
The Italian government also announced it was placing 70,000 extra police officers on surveillance nationwide, in order to enforce the lockdown rules.