VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is celebrating solemn Holy Week ceremonies for a second straight yr with out the standard throngs of pilgrims and vacationers, saved away by pandemic security issues and journey restrictions.
Francis historically leads a Palm Sunday procession via St. Peter’s Sq. after which celebrates an outside Mass for tens of hundreds of trustworthy.
However Francis led a Palm Sunday service this yr inside St. Peter’s Basilica simply as he did final spring. That was simply weeks after the COVID-19 outbreak erupted in Italy, which was the primary nation within the West to be hit by the pandemic.
Solely about 120 trustworthy, together with nuns and some households, attended and had been socially-distanced. They wore protecting masks as did contributors within the procession of 30 red-robed cardinals, however Francis was maskless.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— UK variant hunters lead world race to remain forward of COVID-19.
— Longest-serving bookseller amongst 25,000 Czech virus victims.
— Mexico’s real COVID-19 death toll now stands at over 321,000.
— Vaccines haven’t cured loneliness in New York nursing houses.
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
LONDON — Even when there have been only a few dozen confirmed circumstances of COVID-19 within the U.Okay., professor Sharon Peacock acknowledged that the nation wanted to broaden its capability to investigate the genetic make-up of the virus.
The Cambridge College microbiologist set about bringing scientists collectively to work on genomic sequencing. That has made Britain a world chief to find new variants which are extra harmful or immune to vaccines.
The work is a part of a worldwide effort, and scientists world wide are studying from Britain as they ramp up their work to reply to variants and keep forward of COVID-19.
PELHRIMOV, Czech Republic — A yr after the Czech Republic recorded its first loss of life from the coronavirus, the central European nation paused this week to recollect all of the residents who misplaced their lives within the pandemic.
By the top of the day on March 22, the quantity had surpassed 25,000. Few imagined in March 2020 that the nation of 10.7 million ultimately would have one of many world’s highest per capita loss of life tolls.
But it surely’s not simply grim statistics which have torn the material of Czech life. There’s all the time a private story behind every life misplaced. And the deaths of some folks affected complete communities. Jaromir Vytopil, the nation’s longest-serving bookseller, was one in every of them.
MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s authorities is acknowledging that the nation’s true loss of life toll from the coronavirus pandemic now stands above 321,000.
That’s nearly 60% greater than the federal government’s official test-confirmed variety of 201,429. Mexico does little testing, and since hospitals had been overwhelmed, many Mexicans died at dwelling with out getting a take a look at. The one strategy to get a transparent image is to assessment “extra deaths” and assessment loss of life certificates.
The federal government quietly revealed such a report, indicating there have been 294,287 deaths linked to COVID-19 from the beginning of the pandemic via Feb. 14. Since Feb. 15 there have been a further 26,772 test-confirmed deaths.
NEW YORK — Excessive charges of COVID-19 all through New York have left nearly all of its nursing houses closed for many indoor visits regardless of relaxed steerage meant to assist open them up for guests.
Just a little greater than half of New York nursing houses had been ineligible for indoor visits in mid-March. New York up to date its visitation guidelines Thursday in a approach that may now permit visits to renew underneath sure circumstances, even when a resident has just lately examined optimistic.
However that relaxed normal may not clear the way in which for visitation in lots of houses having hassle maintaining the virus out.
BARCELONA, Spain — 5 thousand music lovers attended a rock live performance in Barcelona after passing a same-day COVID-19 screening.
The present placed on by Spanish group Love of Lesbian on Saturday has the permission of Spanish well being authorities. Concertgoers underwent antigen assessments hours earlier than the live performance to check whether or not the screenings are efficient in stopping virus outbreaks from giant cultural occasions.
Those that examined adverse had been capable of attend the indoor live performance and blend freely whereas carrying obligatory face masks. The live performance is an expanded model of a case examine in December based mostly on a live performance for 500 folks that organizers mentioned didn’t produce infections.
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