Pope asks Italians to stay at home in video message

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Pope Francis on Friday addressed Catholics in a video message and asked people to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Francis said he was thinking of children forced with the rest of their families to stay home during government-ordered lockdowns aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.

But he also urged his followers “to make the best of this time” and reach out to others through phone calls or social media.

He said “in his heart” he was holding those with family members sick with COVID-19 or who had died.

Francis will celebrate solemn Holy Week ceremonies without the public, starting with Palm Sunday Mass in St Peter’s Basilica.

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