Low-key Christmas Eve mass held in Vatican

Pope Francis celebrated Christmas Eve mass in the Vatican City with fewer participants than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 84-year-old pontiff led the mass at St. Peter's Basilica. The event was live-streamed on the Internet.

Thousands of Catholic faithful usually attend the midnight mass. But the number was limited to about 100 this year to prevent infection. Participants wore masks and maintained social distance.

Two Vatican cardinals are reported to have contracted the virus.

A nationwide lockdown was re-imposed in Italy on Thursday. The country's death toll has topped 70,000, the highest in Europe.