Pope Francis led Catholics around the world in reciting the Lord’s Prayer on Wednesday at noon Rome time, united with leaders and the faithful of other Churches and Christian communities  throughout the world. Christian leaders and faithful joined Pope Francis and each other in order to pray for an end to the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than a half million people and claimed more than 19 thousand lives since late last year.

More than a third of the people confirmed to have died from COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — have died in Italy: 6,820 people, according to the latest official count, which Italian authorities released Tuesday afternoon.

The disease has caused major disruption to life worldwide, with scores of countries implementing often severe restrictions on commerce and movement in efforts to slow the spread of the virus and allow healthcare systems to prepare to treat those who fall ill.

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