Millions of Christians around the world are celebrating Easter Sunday in unusual circumstances again this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but there are fewer restrictions than the last year in some countries.
In the United States, as more than 100 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, churches in some states are open for Easter services.
Half a world away, Australians were celebrating Easter Sunday in a relatively unrestricted environment as the country did not report new locally acquired coronavirus cases. Community transmission of COVID-19 is largely eliminated in the country, according to health officials.
In Italy, however, a strict Easter lockdown was observed, as the entire country is considered a high-risk zone.
In a scaled-back Easter vigil service in St. Peter’s Basilica, in the Vatican on Saturday, Pope Francis urged the faithful not to lose hope during the “dark months” of the pandemic.
Due to social-distancing requirements, only about 200 people wearing masks attended the service, which marks the period between Christ’s crucifixion and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
The Vatican cut out the traditional sacrament of baptism for a few adults to decrease the chance of contagion.