Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre closes amid coronavirus fears

The closure, initially for a week, followed a meeting between Israeli police and church leaders, said Wadie Abu Nassar, spokesperson of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, after the Israeli government announced tighter restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

Adeeb Joudeh, a Palestinian whose family holds one of the keys to the church, confirmed the decision after locking its doors.

The closure comes in the build-up to Easter, the most important festival in the Christian calendar, which Roman Catholics this year celebrate on April 12. It would normally see thousands of pilgrims and tourists flock to the city, whose streets are now virtually deserted.