In Bogotá (Colombia), Manila (Philippines), Jerusalem (Israel) or Madrid (Spain) billions of Christians celebrate Easter this Friday locked in their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, which exceeded the symbolic threshold of 100,000 killed worldwide, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In the second most affected country in Europe with 15,843 deaths (Italy has 18,279), Spanish authorities recorded this Friday the lowest daily number of deaths from covid-19 since last March 24, with 605 deaths.
«We continue with the downward trend that we have already been observing,» said Dr. María José Sierra, from the health emergency center.
The truce comes in the middle of Good Friday, during which Pope Francis, spiritual leader of 1.3 billion Catholics, will contemplate at night two groups of five people in the immense square of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome reviving for millions of Internet users and viewers the Way of the Cross, the Calvary of Jesus, from his sentence to his crucifixion and death.
This overwhelming image is one of the many unthinkable consequences of the covid-19 pandemic, which has left more than 100,000 dead and more than 1.6 million infected worldwide according to the latest AFP count, and has been confined to more than half of the world population.
Francis already officiated the Mass on Maundy Thursday, which remembers the Last Supper of Jesus, in front of a small number of attendees, before whom he recalled the «more than sixty priests killed in Italy while caring for the sick in hospitals.»
In the Holy Land, all places of worship have been closed to the public, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the place where, according to the Gospels, Christ died and was buried. Jerusalem is normally the heart of Easter celebrations. Last year, more than 25,000 people from all over the world gathered there to celebrate Easter.
They would extend the confinement in Italy
The Italian government has decided to maintain until May 3 the containment measures that in theory expired on April 13, the Italian media published this Friday, citing union sources.
This decision, which is not yet official, was announced Thursday at a government meeting chaired by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, which was attended by union representatives, according to the press. «Paralyzed until May 3, then we will leave,» headlines the La Stampa newspaper.
«Italy closed until May 3,» reads the front page of Corriere della Sera, the country’s leading daily newspaper. «The date that the Italians have to underline in their agenda is May 4. On that day, if all goes well, the obligation to stay home could be lifted,» says this newspaper.
«But the elderly and those at risk should be protected longer,» he warns. According to the press, non-essential activities will be able to resume from that date and the last to reopen their doors will be bars, restaurants, schools, gyms and dentists, the daily La Repubblica quoted.
In a world facing the worst economic recession since the Great Depression of 1929, as the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva said, on Thursday a financial response was strengthened in the United States but also in the European Union.
In an intense day of various meetings of world leaders on the pandemic, the European finance ministers agreed by videoconference on an aid plan for 500,000 million euros (550,000 million dollars).
Unemployment in the United States, for its part, continues to reach historic levels: some 6.6 million more people applied for unemployment benefits, according to figures released on Thursday.
Given this, the Federal Reserve announced $ 2.3 trillion in new loans to support the economy.
On its side, the main oil-producing countries, except Mexico, agreed to reduce production in May and June by 10 million barrels per day, OPEC announced this Friday, after marathon negotiations to counter the price collapse. This Friday, the energy ministers of the G20 countries will hold a videoconference aimed at supporting this oil agreement.