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
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
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