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Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue lit up for coronavirus victims

The hashtag 'Praying together' was the main message shown over the Rio de Janeiro icon.

The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro was illuminated on Wednesday with the flags and maps of countries and continents affected by the new coronavirus.

The Brazilian landmark, which is usually lit by bright white light, showed images  encouraging people to pray for the victims of the pandemic.

The hashtag 'Praying together" was the main message shown over the Rio de Janeiro icon.

The 125-foot-tall statue, which last year saw almost 2 million visitors, closed on Tuesday and won't reopen for at least a week.

To contain the virus' spread, Brazil's Chico Mendes Institute on Tuesday ordered the closure of all national parks it oversees. 

Credit: AP
Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue is lit up with a map and the word America, in support of those afflicted by the new coronavirus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

At the foot of the statue throughout the overcast afternoon, the last selfie-snapping tourists were still allowed to gather on the lookout that offers a panoramic view out over the so-called Marvelous City.

Credit: AP
Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue is lit up with an image of the earth, as a way to show support for those afflicted by the new coronavirus, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. For most people COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symptoms.

Brazil has recorded almost 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with more than half in Sao Paulo and the second-largest number in Rio, according to the health ministry. The nation reported its first death from the virus the same day: a 62-year-old man in Sao Paulo.

Credit: AP
Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue is lit up with the flags of countries currently afflicted by the new coronavirus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

Almost everyone recovers from the new virus, which often causes only mild symptoms, such as fever and cough.

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But for some people, particularly older adults and people with pre-existing health problems, it can cause more serious illnesses such as pneumonia.

Credit: AP
Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue is lit up with the word Asia in support of those afflicted by the new coronavirus, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, March 18, 2020.