Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre reopens after coronavirus closure

The church, situated in Jerusalem's Old City, is the site where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified

epa08438799 Salvador Rosas, the president of the Franciscan fraternity that lives in the Holy Sepulchre, poses at the aedicule, the purported tomb of Jesus, in the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, 22 May 2020 (issued 23 May 2020). The Holy Sepulchre has been closed to the public for almost two months as part of restrictions against tje spread of COVID-19. It is expected to be reopened in coming days.  Despite the restricted access to the church for the public, religious communities of the Franciscans, Greek, Armenians and Copts continued their religious life at the church.  EPA/ATEF SAFADI  ATTENTION: This Image is part of a PHOTO SET
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Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre reopened to visitors on Sunday after a two-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The church, situated in Jerusalem's Old City, is the site where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified, entombed, and resurrected.

The Christian authorities managing the site closed it to visitors in March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but clerics maintained prayers inside the shuttered church throughout its closure.

On Sunday, church authorities limited entrance to 50 people at a time, and required that those entering the cavernous site maintain social distance and avoid touching any of the church's stones, icons or other religious items.

A typical day before the virus outbreak would bring thousands of faithful who kissed or placed their hands along the church's surfaces.

As priests from the various Christian sects entered the church, a handful of faithful waited outside for the basilica's church to open for the public.

Israeli authorities have gradually reopened schools, houses of worship and markets as the spread of the novel coronavirus has slowed.

Israel's Health Ministry has reported over 16,700 confirmed cases of the disease and 279 deaths. More than 14,000 have recovered.