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Preparations continue at Sistine Chapel ahead of conclave

Work continued in the Vatican on Thursday to prepare for a conclave where 115 cardinal-electors will decide the next pope.

Entrance doors leading into the Sistine Chapel complex had their glass panels blocked to stop prying eyes peeking in.

Builders worked to complete the raised flooring in the chapel constructed to protect the delicate flooring that lies underneath.

Stoves have been put into place beneath the scaffolding to burn ballots after each vote, issuing either black smoke if a pope has not been decided, or white smoke if a choice has been agreed.

Read our full coverage of the papal election

Cardinals are still holding congregational meetings at the Vatican this week to get to know each other and decide when to start the conclave to choose a man to lead the 1.2 billion-member church.

The Vatican appears to be aiming to have a new pope elected next week and officially installed several days later so he can preside over the Holy Week ceremonies starting with Palm Sunday on March 24 and culminating in Easter the following Sunday.