Coronavirus: worshippers still able to attend churches in Georgia despite restrictions – BBC News

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The world’s Orthodox Christians are celebrating Easter – the most important festival in their calendar, amid a series of restrictions and bans.

Officials in Europe, the Middle East and Africa urged people not to attend services, fearing this would lead to a spike in coronavirus infections.

However, in Georgia, worshippers are still able to attend churches.

The government has banned the movement of all private cars ahead of Easter Sunday. Cemeteries, which Georgians traditionally visit on Easter Monday, are also shut.

Those violating the state of emergency law, which among other restrictions bans gatherings of more than three people, face hefty fines of almost £800 ($1,000; €900).

And yet many Georgians are questioning why the government made an exception for the Orthodox Church. Thousands have continued to worship freely in churches across the country since the crisis began.

The Church has refused to adapt its customs. Priests continue to give Holy Communion with a shared spoon.

At least two priests have already tested positive for Covid-19. But the Easter midnight service went ahead.

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