Christians around the world observed a Good Friday like no other, at home watching livestreams instead of at church, as pressure mounted on governments to fend off further economic devastation from the coronavirus. Worldwide, the death toll closed in on 100,000, with the confirmed number of infected topping 1.6 million. Politicians and public health officials warned the public against letting the virus come roaring back by relaxing social distancing over the Easter holiday weekend, and they urged Christians to celebrate the holiday safely at home, per the AP. Some churches held virtual services online, while others arranged prayers at drive-in theaters. Authorities resorted to using roadblocks and other means to discourage travel. In Italy, officials used helicopters, drones, and stepped-up police checks to make sure people don't slip out of their homes over the holiday.
In locked-down Paris, fire-scarred Notre Dame Cathedral came back to life briefly, days before the first anniversary of the April 15 inferno that ravaged it. Good Friday observances led by the archbishop were broadcast live from the nearly empty, closed-to-the-public cathedral. The pandemic has also slammed economies worldwide. As weeks of lockdowns were extended in nation after nation, governments were pressed to ease restrictions on key businesses and industries. After a two-week freeze on all nonessential economic activity, for example, Spain decided to allow factories and construction sites to resume work on Monday, while schools, most shops, and offices will remain closed. Some experts warned that relaxing the two-week "hibernation" of economic activity comes too early. More here.
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