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Syrian Christians celebrate Easter amid pandemic

Syrian Christians gathered Sunday in a church in Damascus amidst a second Easter under coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

Church goers wore masks and attempted to social distance in one of the biggest Christian holidays of the year.

Jimmy Babek, a scout at Our Lady of Damascus, said that while the church took many precautions like enforcing mask wearing and the use of hand sanitisers and social distancing, it is still important to celebrate these events.

Syria is witnessing a sharp increase in coronavirus cases.

Last month, state media reported that intensive care units in state hospitals in the capital of Damascus were full, and that medical staff were told to prepare for a large influx of coronavirus patients.

The country has registered more than 19,000 COVID-19 infections, including 1,288 deaths, since the first case was registered in the country in March of last year.

According to the World Health Organization, there are nearly 21,000 cases in the last rebel stronghold in Syria's northwest along the border with Turkey, as well as some 9,000 cases in areas controlled by US-backed Kurdish-led fighters in the northeast.

The real numbers are believed to be much higher, however, as testing is limited, and most Syrians cannot afford tests due to the country's crushing economic crisis.

The pandemic, which has severely tested even developed countries, has been a major challenge for Syria's conflict-depleted health care sector.

AP

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