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People going 'on holiday' to avoid lockdowns saddening Pope Francis

January 04, 2021 | 09:43

Pope Francis strongly condemned on Sunday people who traveled abroad in order to escape coronavirus lockdowns, saying they needed to show greater awareness of the suffering of others.

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Pope Francis holds his speech during an International Prayer Meeting for Peace "No one is saved alone, October 20, 2020 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Vatican Pool

The pope spoke during his weekly noon blessing, which is normally given from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square. The blessing has been moved indoors to discourage large crowds during the pandemic.

The pope highlighted the selfishness of what he read in the news, saying it "saddened" him.

"They are good people, but they didn't think about those who were staying at home, of the economic problems of many people who have been hit hard by the lockdown, of the sick people," Pope Francis said Sunday, cited on CNN.

"They didn’t think about those who were staying at home, of the economic problems of many people who have been hit hard by the lockdown, of the sick people," Pope Francis said, according to Reuters.

"(They thought) only about going on holiday and having fun.

"We don’t know what 2021 will reserve for us, but what all of us can do together is make a bit more of an effort to take care of each other," the pope added. "There is the temptation to take care only of our own interests."

The pope spoke about similar themes on New Year’s Day during the traditional Angelus blessing, fighting through nerve pain to deliver the address, said Foxnews.

During this year’s address, he called for peace, saying that "the pandemic taught us how much it is necessary to take interest in others’ problems and to share their concerns."

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Tourists and locals enjoying on the terrace amid the Coronavirus pandemic on June 1, 2020 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Illustration image Paulo Amorim.

A number of countries have chosen to drastically curtail Christmas and New Year's celebrations in the face of rising COVID-19 cases.

The trend is particularly apparent in mainland Europe, where curfews, lockdowns, and limits on private and public gatherings have been reintroduced.

But with another round of shutdowns occurring in many states as positive COVID-19 case numbers continue to spike to dire levels, this could present severe repercussions for businesses forced to close their doors again.

Once bustling festive season attractions, crowded with holidaymakers and locals frolicking in the sun while counting down the hours until midnight, were virus “hotspots” almost devoid of human life on holiday.

Pope Francis held his Sunday prayers from the Apostolic Palace library, rather than from the usual window overlooking St. Peter's Square where crowds would usually gather, in order to limit the spread of the virus.

Many countries around the world are facing renewed lockdowns and travel restrictions, with 84 million people now infected by the virus. At least 1.83 million people have died, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Renewing his best wishes for the New Year, Pope Francis said: "What each of us -- and all of us together -- can do is commit ourselves a little more to take care of each other and of what was created, our common home."

In the past, the Pope has also criticized people who refuse to wear masks or who protest against coronavirus restrictions, commenting that they move in "their own little world of interests."

This year, the pontiff used his Christmas message to say that coronavirus vaccines must be available for all, and pleaded with states to cooperate in the race to emerge from the pandemic.

"Today, in this time of darkness and uncertainty during the pandemic, different lights of hope appear, like the discovery of the vaccines ... they must be available to everyone," the Pope said during his traditional Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) message at the Vatican.

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