Question marks over major Catholic feast this year

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Tens of thousands of pilgrims are to walk to Aglona, eastern Latvia, for the annual Virgin Mary Ascension celebration held on August 15, but not surprisingly it's unclear how the celebration will be held during the spread of the novel coronavirus, reported LTV.

Bishop Jānis Bulis told LTV that the believers going to this important annual feast will without a doubt follow social distancing rules. Services will be held outside the Basilica of the Assumption so that more people can participate, said Bulis.

Raivis Kronbergs, an official at the Justice Ministry, said that his ministry has held a meeting with epidemiologists, church representatives, Health Ministry figures and Interior Ministry officials to try to work out a solution for holding such a massive event.

It is possible there will be makeshift barriers erected at the site to prevent people from crowding too closely. 

Ineta Poga, a local official, said that the next Justice Ministry meeting will be held at the actual Basilica and dedicated to working out social distancing measures at the event.

"There will be extra funds allotted, or redirected, to ensuring safety measures," Poga said. 

More information about the feast, to which tens of thousands people walk to from across Latvia, is to be released July 20.

Meanwhile the epidemiological situation in Latvia is becoming more worrying, with an uptick in cases over the past few days and the country's Disease Prevention and Control Center warning that restrictions could be re-introduced if many cases are untraceable. 

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