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A man holds an image of Jesus Christ from his window, to celebrate Easter in Cambados after religious processions were cancelled during a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-16 disease. Image Credit: AFP

Madrid: Communities in Spain have cancelled thousands of religious processions, which were likely to be held to commemorate Easter Sunday on April 12, for the first time in nearly 90 years, in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

But people in-charge of the events are making masks out of the materials which were purchased for the events, as an alternative to make use of them and highlight how religious communities in Spain are helping the country's struggle against the outbreak, Al Jazeera reported.

"We had bought pretty much everything we needed, right down to the cloth for the uniforms for the penitents," Lola Diaz Montero of Aznalcazar's Brotherhood of Saint James, was quoted by Al Jazeera, as saying.

"We'd started cancelling Masses for Lent ... before the state of alert was declared in the middle of March. Then the news came through that all the processions were going to be stopped too," Montero said.

For the past weeks across Spain, there has been a severe shortage of protective face masks for the general public in chemists and other stores.

Meanwhile, to make up for canceled processions, some Brotherhoods have also organised online religious ceremonies, including historical documentaries mixed with prayers, videos of last year's parades and messages from their association presidents.

Some penitents have organised their own individual marches, remodelling processions in Lego, hanging religious symbols from their balconies or marching around their kitchen table in their procession uniform.

Lockdown rules, however, look set to be strictly respected, as the death toll and the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Police have told one local priest in the southern town of Puebla de Don Fadrique, whose plans to go through the streets in his own individual enactment of the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday was widely publicised, would not be allowed.

In southern Spain, where Easter processions are traditionally the largest, local authorities for tourist-friendly cities like Malaga and Granada have said the economic effect of their loss runs into more than 100 million euros, while in Seville, the region's capital, it has been estimated at four times that amount.

Spain has reported 605 new coronavirus deaths, continuing a downward trend, and 4,566 new cases. The death toll in the European country stands at 15,843 and a total of 157,022 cases have been reported.