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In pictures: Millions mark Easter around the world under COVID-19 curbs

In pictures: Millions mark Easter around the world under COVID-19 curbs

Parishioners gather on a beach for an Easter Sunday service at sunrise hosted by Hope Community Church of Manasquan in Masaquan, New Jersey, on Sunday, Apr 4, 2021. (Photo: AP/John Minchillo)

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.

READ: Pope, in Easter message, slams weapons spending in time of COVID-19 pandemic

READ: In Myanmar, Easter eggs become symbol of defiance for anti-coup protesters

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.

In this Apr 3, 2021 photo, the Catholic faithful gather in the Cathedral of St Paul in St Paul, Minnesota, for the beginning of the solemn celebration of the Easter Vigil. (Photo: AP/Giovanna Dell'Orto) Virus Outbreak Easter
Parishioners are silhouetted against the rising sun as they gather and pray during an Easter sunrise service held by Park Community Church at North Avenue Beach in Chicago on Sunday, Apr 4, 2021. (Photo: AP/Shafkat Anowar)
Apostolic Pentecostals celebrate Easter in a field in the Johannesburg township of Soweto on Sunday, Apr 4, 2021. Such South African independent churches consist of small groups of worshippers mixing African traditions and bible study. (Photo: AP/Jerome Delay)
A Christian woman prays during an Easter mass at St John's Cathedral in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Sunday, Apr 4, 2021. (Photo: AP/Muhammad Sajjad)
Christians wearing face masks as a precaution against COVID-19 attend an Easter service while maintaining social distancing at the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul on Sunday, Apr 4, 2021. (Photo: AP/Lee Jin-man)
People sit at a distance from each other during an Easter service in a cathedral in Hildesheim, Germany, on Sunday, Apr 4, 2021. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and numerous contact restrictions, churches are allowed to celebrate numerous presence services around Easter. (Photo: AP/Julian Stratenschulte, dpa)
Believers stand behind their Easter baskets brought to be blessed on Easter Sunday in the main square of the city of Csikszereda, or Miercurea-Ciuc in Romanian, in Transylvania, Romania, on Sunday, Apr 4, 2021. According to tradition, Catholic believers ask for the blessing on ham, cake, eggs and wine on Easter Sunday. (Photo: AP/Nandor Veres, MTI) Romania Easter
Anti-coup protesters in Yangon raise decorated Easter eggs along with the three-fingered symbols of resistance during a protest against the Myanmar military coup on Easter Sunday, Apr 4, 2021. (Photo: AP) Anti-coup protesters raise decorated Easter eggs along with the three-fingered symbols of resistance during a protest against the military coup on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Yangon, Myanmar. (AP Photo)
An anti-coup protester in Yangon raises a decorated Easter egg along with the three-fingered symbol of resistance during a protest against the Myanmar military coup on Easter Sunday, Apr 4, 2021. (Photo: AP) An anti-coup protester raises a decorated Easter egg along with the three-fingered symbol of resistance during a protest against the military coup on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Yangon, Myanmar. (AP Photo)
A Catholic priest carries a statue of Jesus Christ as he walks in a religious procession during the Holy Easter celebration at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Moscow on Sunday, Apr 4, 2021. (Photo: AP/Pavel Golovkin) Catholic priest carries a statue of Jesus Christ as he walks in religious procession during the Holy Easter celebration in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, April 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)​​​​​​​
Policemen patrol an empty St Peter's Square in Vatican City on Easter Sunday, Apr 4, 2021. (Photo: AP/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis leaves after celebrating Easter mass at St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on Sunday, Apr 4, 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: AP/Filippo Monteforte, Pool)
Clergyman and servers arrive for the Easter Sunday mass celebrated by primate of the Hungarian Catholic Church, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest Cardinal Peter Erdo, in the Esztergom Basilica in the city of Esztergom, Hungary, on Sunday, Apr 4, 2021. (Photo: AP/Marton Monus, MTI) Virus Outbreak Easter Hungary
A priest is seen during an Easter Sunday church service at a Catholic church in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Sunday, Apr, 4, 2021. Zimbabwean Christians commemorated Easter Sunday with special church services, music, candlelight, flowers and the ringing of church bells.(Photo: AP/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Christian worshipers attend Easter Sunday Mass, amid eased COVID-19 restrictions, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday, Apr 4, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)
A woman wearing a face mask attends Easter Sunday mass led by Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the tomb of Jesus Christ is believed to be located, in the Old City of Jerusalem, on Sunday, Apr 4, 2021. (Photo: AP/Oded Balilty)
Source: AFP/cna/kg

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