A nun prays during the broadcast and recording of Palm Sunday mass at a Catholic church in Ankeny, Iowa, the United States, with the pews empty because of the coronavirus pandemic [File: Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo]

United States President Donald Trump on Friday declared churches and other houses of worship “essential” and called on governors across the country to allow them to reopen this weekend despite the threat of spreading the coronavirus.

“Today I’m identifying houses of worship – churches, synagogues and mosques – as essential places that provide essential services,” Trump said during a hastily arranged news conference at the White House, where he did not take questions. He said if governors don’t abide by his request, he will “override” them, though it

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