Pope Walks Empty Rome Streets to Pray for the Sick

Pope Francis had a rare opportunity to walk the streets of Rome as the streets were, for the most part, empty due to the total Italian shutdown.

The shutdown was announced on the 11th of March due to the growing number of cases of the new coronavirus. The total number of positive cases in Italy on the 16th of March reached over 21,000 people currently identified as infected with the virus.

The 83-year-old Pope, who became Pontiff in March 2013, left the Vatican in the afternoon to pray for Italy and the city of Rome along with the end of the high number of infections.

He first prayed at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore before deciding to walk to the church San Marcello Al Corso on the famous shopping street Via Del Corso which is normally packed with shoppers and tourists.

Masses and religious gatherings of any sort have been canceled in Italy as the government seeks to limit the number of people congregating together. Meanwhile, the Vatican announced that Holy Week services would be closed to the public leading up to Easter.

After closing briefly, churches remain open for private worship. Otherwise, Italians are finding creative ways to stay connected during the crisis.

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