ROME: Millions of Christians around the world celebrated a second Easter under COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday (Apr 4) with Pope Francis calling for vaccines to be shared among the poorest nations as the coronavirus surges.
Despite vaccine roll-outs gathering pace in many richer countries, dramatic spikes in cases have seen deeply unpopular restrictions enforced from Canada to Europe and South America.
Vaccination was "an essential tool" in the fight against the virus, the pope said in his Easter Sunday address, with Italy under a strict lockdown over the weekend.
"I urge the entire international community ... to commit to overcoming delays in the distribution of vaccines and to facilitate their distribution, especially in the poorest countries," he said to a congregation of just around 100 people inside the vast St Peter's Basilica.
Stricter curbs have come into effect in Belgium as well as in France, where authorities are scrambling to deal with a serious spike in cases that has overwhelmed hospitals in Paris.
Across the Atlantic, Canada crossed the threshold of one million COVID-19 cases, forcing several provinces to tighten restrictions for the Easter weekend.
And celebrations have been dampened in South America too, where Brazil is in the grip of a devastating outbreak likely fuelled by a more contagious virus variant.
The worrying situation led Peru to go into an Easter lockdown, Bolivia to seal the frontier with Brazil, and Chile to close all borders.
But in Jerusalem, curbs have been partially lifted due to Israel's successful vaccination campaign, allowing Easter celebrations to go ahead.
Easter mass was held at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built at the site in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried.
Tourists are, however, still generally barred, and the tens of thousands of pilgrims who usually flock to holy sites could not enter this year.
Here are some images of Easter celebrations around the world.