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Millions mark Easter under coronavirus curbs

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Pope Francis said vaccination was an 'essential tool' in the fight against coronavirus. AFP

Millions mark Easter under coronavirus curbs

Millions of Christians around the world celebrated a second Easter under coronavirus restrictions on April 4, as nations tried to control worrying Covid-19 surges.

Despite vaccine rollouts gathering pace in many countries, dramatic spikes in cases have forced the re-imposition of deeply unpopular restrictions from Canada to Europe and South America.

Pope Francis was due to celebrate Easter morning mass with Italy under a strict lockdown over the weekend.

Ahead of his Easter Sunday mass, he delivered a message of hope and renewal.

“It is always possible to begin anew, because there is a new life that God can awaken in us in spite of all our failures,” Francis said during Easter Vigil Mass on April 3.

Tighter 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 coronavirus cases as it battled a new wave of infections, forcing several provinces to tighten restrictions ahead of 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 variant.

The worrying situation in the continent forced Peru to go into an Easter lockdown, Bolivia to seal its frontier with Brazil, and Chile to close all borders.

The Covid-19 global death toll has passed 2.86 million.

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