Coronavirus: Rome closes all Catholic churches

Vicar of Rome orders closure of Rome's churches until 3 April.

All Catholic churches in Rome have been closed to the faithful until 3 April, in line with Italy's total shutdown as the country battles a worsening Coronavirus outbreak.

“Until Friday, 3 April, 2020, access to parochial and non-parochial churches of the Diocese of Rome, open to the public, and more generally to religious buildings of any kind open to the public, is forbidden to all the faithful,” said a statement issued on 12 March by Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the Vicar of Rome.

The unprecedented move was taken out of "responsibility" said Cardinal De Donatis who insisted that the measure comes "not because the state requires it, but out of a sense of belonging to the human family, exposed to a virus whose nature and propagation we do not yet know.”

The church closures follow the suspension of Mass for the faithful in Rome and the sealing off of St Peter's Square and Basilica in the Vatican.

Last Sunday the Holy See streamed the Angelus with Pope Francis after a patient being treated at the Vatican's health facilities tested positive for Coronavirus on 6 March.

The total number of Coronavirus cases in Italy has risen to 15,113, with the number of deaths at 1,016, according to data released late on 12 March.

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