Pope Francis will pray before an empty square at St Peter's Basilica today to give a special blessing in response to the coranvirus outbreak.

It takes place today at 5pm (6pm Rome) and those who participate by watching or listening live will receive a plenary indulgence.

Watch it online at the Vatican's YouTube channel:

The #PrayTogether initiative will include the Word of God, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and an Urbi et Orbi blessing. The blessing “to the City [of Rome] and to the World” is normally only given on Christmas and Easter.

Pope Francis said: "We will listen to the Word of God, we will raise our supplication, we will adore the Blessed Sacrament, at the end I will impart the Urbi et orbi Blessing, and you will have the possibility of receiving a plenary indulgence.

"We want to respond to the virus pandemic with the universality of prayer."

The Urbi et orbi blessing is subject to the conditions foreseen by the recent Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary. To find out more about a plenary indulgence, click here.