Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem did not open on Sunday as planned

Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

Two months after the doors were shut to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem remained closed to the public on Sunday, despite an earlier official announcement of its reopening.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, located in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, is one of the most holy and special sites in Christianity.

Millions of pilgrims visit the church each year, but it was closed on March 25 by the Israeli government as a precaution against the coronavirus.

Leaders of the three denominations that share the site had said in a joint statement on Saturday that it would reopen on May 24 "to the faithful for visits and prayers".

The Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic denominations share custody of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

They said that entry would be restricted to a maximum of 50 people at a time, "to those who have no fever or symptoms of infection and are wearing suitable face coverings".

But on Sunday morning worshippers were denied entry. Religious officials said that reopening was postponed but did not give a new date.

Israel has begun to loosen lockdown measures, as infection numbers decrease. Religious sites were authorised to reopen last Wednesday on the condition that entry be limited to 50 people at a time.