St Francis Basilica is seen in Assisi, Italy. File picture: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
St Francis Basilica is seen in Assisi, Italy. File picture: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Franciscan monks in Assisi test positive for coronavirus

By Reuters Time of article published Aug 10, 2020

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Rome - Ten Franciscan monks and eight trainees in Assisi, the birthplace of St Francis, have tested positive for coronavirus and gone into isolation, the Catholic order said on Monday.

Father Enzo Fortunato, a spokesman, said the 18 were not in the main convent complex, which includes the basilica where the saint is buried, but housed in a separate structure for trainee monks, known as novices, and their immediate superiors.

The newly-arrived novices were from France, Malta and Croatia, Fortunato said, adding that they were all in good condition and the outbreak was not affecting visits by pilgrims and tourists to the basilica and main convent.

Visits take place with social distancing and masks.

The Frecce Tricolori aerobatic squad of the Italian Air Force fly over the Basilica of St. Francis, in Assisi, central Italy. Picture: Andrea Cova/Sala Stampa Basilica San Francesco via AP

Umbria, the central region where Assisi is located, has been one of the areas of Italy least hit by the coronavirus, counting for fewer than 100 of more than 35,000 deaths in the country.

The coronavirus has hit a number of places in Italy where nuns or priests live in close quarters.

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