The basilica of Saint Peter, fully disinfected, reopened Monday to the public

La basilique Saint-Pierre, entièrement désinfectée, rouvre lundi au public

La basilique Saint-Pierre, entièrement désinfectée, rouvre lundi au public

The basilica of Saint Peter in Rome has been completely disinfected.

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May 15, 2020 13.45

Updated 22.08

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The basilica of Saint Peter, fully disinfected, reopened Monday to the public

Arman Soldin

Agence France-Presse

Catherine Marciano

Agence France-Presse

VATICAN CITY — Fully disinfected on Friday, the Saint Peter’s basilica in Rome will reopen Monday, its doors to tourists, but with strict safety rules.

The famous Saint Peter’s square, which gives access to the largest catholic shrine in the world, will be also reopened to the public.

For the moment, no public religious ceremony with pope Francis is planned, or the inside of the basilica, able to host 60 000 people in the normal time, or in the open air on the place Saint-Pierre.

On Friday morning, a cleaning crew has invested the huge basilica of 23 000 m2, which belongs to the micro-State of Vatican City.

Under the dome designed by michelangelo and around the monumental bronze baldachin by Bernini, the maintenance agents hidden in the white suit have sprayed all the surfaces likely to be touched by visitors.

An agent perched on an electric vehicle is for its part responsible for the cleaning of methodically sumptuous floors in polychrome marble.

According to a leader of the health care management of the Vatican, Andrea Arcangeli, officers sprayed “with a solution of chlorine bleach diluted, metered so as not to damage the valuable surfaces and objects of art”.

This holy place is also a temple of mass tourism, had been closed to tourists on march 10, the day of the beginning of the containment of the whole Italy, the major focus of spread of the coronavirus which has made more than 31,000 deaths in the peninsula.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the State of the Vatican, an enclave in the middle of Rome, has decided to apply the same sanitary rules as Italy.

The basilica of Saint Peter, as well as three other papal basilicas dependent on the pope, therefore, should follow a recommendation of the Italian ministry of the Interior limited to 200 people maximum assistance to a religious celebration in a place of worship closed.

During the mass, the individual distribution of hosts will be framed: the celebrant must disinfect their hands, use gloves single-use and a protective mask, and then let go of the host, “without entering into contact with the hands of the faithful”, and the protocol provide government. The believers will have to go with holy water and sit a metre away from each other.

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As of Monday, the vatican gendarmes will limit the entries in the basilica of Saint Peter, with the help of volunteers of the Order of Malta. The use of thermal imaging cameras for measuring the temperature of the visitors is in the study but for the great religious feasts, precise-t-on at the Vatican.

The pontiff will celebrate Monday morning a mass of confidential retransmitted by video in the basilica, before the tomb of John Paul II, on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of his birth.

It will stop however from Tuesday the live broadcast of his daily mass from the chapel of his residence Sainte-Marthe, located just behind the basilica. This rendez-vous very early in the morning has been followed by millions of believers in the world, confined and prevented from travelling in their local church.

The return of the religious celebrations in public in Italy from Monday, initially excluded for health reasons, has been ripped off at the end of an arm of iron between a Italian episcopate angry and the government.

In full containment, the pope argentine had to celebrate Easter Sunday in St. Peter’s basilica deserted. As for the traditional “Way of the Cross”, it took place on St. Peter’s square, a private of the faithful. A striking contrast with the crowd of 20,000 people, usually present around the roman amphitheatre, the Colosseum.

The Holy see has not said when then recover the traditional Wednesday general audience. Jorge Bergoglio had celebrated his last general audience in the open air on the 26th of February, shaking dozens of hands in the midst of the epidemic.

The Vatican City was known officially to this day, twelve cases of contagion, in which a prelate living in the same residence as the pope.

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