A religious statue sits beyond yellow tape during the coronavirus pandemic in Miami on Thursday. AP
Church doors will be shut and the Vatican sealed off when Pope Francis leads 1.3 billion Catholics in Easter Sunday celebrations held under a worldwide coronavirus lockdown.
Fear and confusion in the face of a disease whose toll has unrelentingly climbed towards 100,000 are reshaping society and transforming the way religion is observed.
Even such hallowed traditions as the pope's messages to the faithful on Saint Peter's Square are being replaced by live streamed prayers that Francis reluctantly records from the seclusion of his private library.
The Vatican has been closed to visitors for a month and the 83-year-old pontiff -- beloved for breaking stuffy customs and mingling with the people -- has complained of feeling "caged".
"We have to respond to our confinement with all our creativity," Francis said in an interview published by several Catholic newspapers this week.
"We can either get depressed and alienated... or we can get creative."
The pope's virtual prayers are just the starkest example of religious improvisation in the age of social distancing and confinement.
Others abound worldwide -- from the Archbishop of Panama blessing his tiny Central American nation from the air in a helicopter to the faithful in Spain blasting religious music from their balconies during Holy Week.
The scale of the unfolding tragedy has seen a New York City cathedral replace rows of wooden seats with hospital beds in case of overcrowding in surrounding emergency wards.Agence France-Presse
The WHO maintained its recommendation that people who are sick with COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and if it is absolutely necessary for them or their contacts to leave home, they should wear a medical mask.
The World Health Organization says its survey, conducted between June and August in 130 countries, is the first to detail the "devastating impact” of COVID-19 on access to mental health services.
World Health Organisation Director Dr Tedros Adhanom is the focus of attention as the 2019 novel coronavirus advances across the globe. He has been criticised by some health professionals
There are now more than 600,000 coronavirus cases across 202 countries and territories globally, with the United States overtaking China as the country with the most infections. Europe continues to report the most deaths.
Two people were reported killed and 26 others missing as Typhoon Molave hit central Vietnam on Wednesday, knocking down trees and tearing roofs off homes in some of the worst destruction seen in years.
A senior Chinese official accused the United States on Wednesday of deflecting blame and breaking its word when it comes to fighting climate change, as the simmering diplomatic row between the world's two biggest economies shifts to the environment.
The UAE has strongly condemned the terrorist attack, killing at least eight students and wounding 136 others. It took place on Tuesday in a religious school in the city of Peshawar, northern Pakistan, which claimed the lives of a number of innocent civilians, including children, and wounded others.
Millions of Indians turned out to cast ballots in a state election on Wednesday in the world’s biggest vote since the coronavirus emerged, with booths packed out and many ignoring government advice on wearing masks and social distancing.