By Anne Kurian

Given the COVID-10 Coronavirus epidemic, the Vatican has taken additional preventive measures: its Museums will be closed to the public until April 3, 2020.

On March 8, 2020, in coordination with the Italian Authorities, the Vatican adopted new measures for the Holy See’s Dicasteries and Institutes. Among them are the closing of the Vatican’s Museums, the Archaeological Office, the Museum of Papal Villas and the Museum of Papal Basilicas.

Up to today, stated a press release, only one patient was infected with COVID-19 in Vatican City State: an outsider who went to a community clinic of the Health and Hygiene Office, for a pre-recruitment medical examination. Out of precaution, five people who were in contact with this person were quarantined.

In order to avoid the gathering of crowds, on Sunday morning, the Holy Father prayed the Angelus, from the Library, streaming on the Internet as opposed to his usual delivery from the window of the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square.

The Vatican published internal norms, advising the postponement of meetings and events, the cleaning and disinfecting of means of transport and common parts, the avoidance of gatherings and the use of elevators, the differing of trips and new hiring. The norms also favor leaves of absence, the recovery of supplementary hours and flexibility of hours to enable parents to be with their family.

As to the Italian government, it has placed a quarantine until April 3 on Lombardy and part of Venice and Emilia-Romagna: schools and universities, night clubs, theatres, cinemas, and ski stations are closed and cultural, sports and religious manifestations are interdicted.

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