A Franciscan monk prays on the marble slab that covers the Tomb of Jesus, in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, which opens its doors to the public this Sunday. (Free Press Photo: EFE)
“For security reasons and to avoid the risk of a new spread of covid-19, the number of visitors will be limited to 50 people and the basilica will only be accessible to those who do not have fever or symptoms of infection and carry the right masks ”, reported on their website the religious authorities that manage access to this holy place of Christianity.
“It will also be necessary to maintain a minimum distance of two meters between each person and avoid any act of devotion that could include physical contact such as touching or kissing the stones, the icons, the dresses and the staff of the basilica,” they added.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher closed on March 25, shortly before the Easter holidays, as part of unprecedented measures to curb the coronavirus epidemic in Israel and in the Palestinian territories.
Officially, the epidemic left more than 160,000 people infected in Israel, including 279 dead.
In the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian authorities officially registered 368 sick and two deceased.
According to Christian tradition, the Holy Sepulcher is the place where Jesus was crucified and buried.
Franciscan monks who live in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, during a procession inside the temple that Friday, May 22. (Free Press Photo: EFE)
The place is located in East Jerusalem, in the Old City, occupied and annexed by Israel. Every year the church is visited by millions of people.
After halting the spread of the virus, the Israeli authorities lifted part of the containment measures to try to revive the economy.
The places of worship were authorized to reopen on Wednesday, but with limited access to 50 people.