Ukraine is blocking the whole city. The Ukrainian monastery is now a large hotbed point for COVID-19. PHOTO

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Police have stopped people going in and out of the Ukrainian town of Pochayiv after an outbreak at one of the largest Orthodox monasteries in Eastern Europe. Dozens of people including priests have contracted coronavirus and some have died in the town where the 500-year-old Pochayiv Lavra is situated. It is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites for Orthodox Christians from the whole region. Authorities had already sealed off another ancient Orthodox shrine. Some 150 people contracted the virus at the the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, one of the best-known Orthodox shrines in Ukraine and Russia. Photo: The Ukrainian monastery is now a large hotbed point for COVID-19 Police blocked routes in and out of Pochayiv in western Ukraine and the monastery, which is inside the town but surrounded by an ancient wall, was closed to the public. Pochayiv Lavra (monastery) belongs to the Ukrainian branch of the Russian Orthodox Church. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims visit every year from Poland, Moldova, Russia, Belarus and as far away as Bulgaria. The town of Pochayiv has a population of 8,000 people and it is thought that priests will have had contact with many of the residents.