A priest delivers a willow branch to a woman’s home in Bucharest, Romania, an attempt to keep an Orthodox Palm Sunday tradition alive despite the ban on joining religious celebrations.
At Jerusalem’s Western Wall, only a handful of men gather to perform the Priestly Benediction, the customary prayer held during Passover — instead of the tens of thousands of worshipers that the blessing usually draws.
Over the past week, Jews and Christians around the world observed their rites largely in isolation because of restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Meanwhile, the pandemic marked a number of grim milestones: The worldwide death toll surged past 100,000, according to John Hopkins University. The tally in New York City eclipsed the number killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11, and the United Kingdom became the fourth European country to reach 10,000 deaths.
And still the virus raged on. Barcelona’s visiting health care workers and emergency medical personnel went door to door to tend to Spain’s home-bound elderly, who have suffered the most. New York City, faced with a mounting death toll and dwindling morgue space, shortened the amount of time it will hold unclaimed remains before they are buried in the city’s public cemetery.
But there were moments of hope, nonetheless. Wuhan ended its 76-day lockdown, allowing residents to again travel without special authorization. Long lines formed at the airport and train and bus stations as thousands streamed out of the Chinese city, where the coronavirus pandemic began.