"Today my thoughts turn in the first place to the many who have been directly affected by the coronavirus," says Pope Francis.
Pope Francis offered a Easter Sunday prayer for those killed and suffering from a novel coronavirus that has killed more than 100,000 people worldwide.
"Today my thoughts turn in the first place to the many who have been directly affected by the coronavirus: the sick, those who have died and family members who mourn the loss of their loved ones, to whom, in some cases, they were unable even to bid a final farewell," the pope said in a livestreamed message from an empty Saint Peter's Basilica.
He also called for the reduction or forgiveness of the debt of poor nations suffering in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
"May all nations be put in a position to meet the greatest needs of the moment through the reduction, if not the forgiveness, of the debt burdening the balance sheets of the poorest nations," the pope said in a livestreamed Easter message from an empty Saint Peter's Basilica.
In his message, the Pope called for an "immediate" ceasefire in global conflict and urged European nations to show "solidarity" in the face of a coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 109,000 lives worldwide.
"May Christ our peace enlighten all who have responsibility in conflicts, that they may have the courage to support the appeal for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world," the pope said in a livestreamed Easter message.
Francis added that it was time for Europe, which he described as his "beloved continent", to "rise again, thanks to a concrete spirit of solidarity" similar to that shown after World War II.
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