Vatican City, Mar 31, 2020 / 03:15 am America/Denver (CNA).
Vatican flags are flying at half-staff on Tuesday in solidarity with the victims of the coronavirus in Italy and worldwide.
“Today, in solidarity with Italy, the Holy See will display flags at half-mast in mourning to express its closeness to the victims of the pandemic in Italy and in the world, to their families, and to all those who generously struggle for its end,” Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni told journalists March 31.
Pope Francis met with the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the Vatican the day prior as the Italian government attempts to confront an outbreak which has led Italy to have the highest number of coronavirus mortalities in the world.
More than 11,500 people have died of COVID-19 in Italy after a total of 101,739 people have been documented by the Italian Ministry of Health as infected with the coronavirus. Throughout the world, more than 37,800 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
Italy was the first country outside of China to implement a mandatory lockdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Conte announced the lockdown on March 9, and has since said that the national quarantine will be extended beyond the original April 3 deadline.