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Pope delivers usual blessing and remarks to faithful via video

Faithful watch Pope Francis deliver the Angelus prayer on a giant screen, in St Peter's Square at the Vatican. Picture by Andrew Medichini/AP

Pope Francis did not deliver his usual blessing and remarks from a window in the Vatican on Sunday, in a move aimed at discouraging crowds amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Instead, a video of him reading his comments and reciting prayers standing at a lectern near a microphone in the Vatican's apostolic library was beamed on to the faithful on giant screens set up in St Peter's Square.

The bells of St Peter's Basilica tolled as the window opened and Francis appeared for a few seconds to wave to the people below in the square.

But he made no comments from the window, having already delivered the broadcast remarks.

The measure – which was announced on Saturday – was aimed at discouraging crowds from gathering in the square, where on days with good weather like this Sunday as many as 40,000 people can turn out to watch the Pope in the window.

However, several thousand tourists and faithful turned out anyway, scattered across the vast, cobbled square.

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