In Pictures: Millions mark Easter under COVID-19 restrictions

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

Despite vaccine rollouts gathering pace in many countries, dramatic spikes in cases have forced the reimposition of restrictions.

Pope Francis celebrated Easter morning mass at St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican under a strict lockdown over the weekend.

Before his 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 Saturday.

“From the rubble of our hearts, God can create a work of art; from the ruined remnants of our humanity, God can prepare a new history.”

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 before 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.

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