Pope Francis delivers his blessing during the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican. File picture: Andrew Medichini/AP
Pope Francis delivers his blessing during the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican. File picture: Andrew Medichini/AP

Pope has tested negative for the coronavirus, reports Italian newspaper

By Alvise Armellini Time of article published Mar 3, 2020

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Rome - Pope Francis has been tested for the novel coronavirus and come up with a negative result, Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reported on Tuesday.

The 83-year-old pontiff has cancelled some of his engagements since Thursday, a day after appearing to be suffering from a cold during an Ash Wednesday service.

Francis had a "cough, a bit of a temperature, sore throat, shivers. His doctors stepped in immediately for the appropriate checks," Il Messaggero reported.

"Of course, he was also subjected to a swab test to see if it was coronavirus, but luckily the outcome was negative," the newspaper added.

The Vatican did not comment on the report.

On Sunday, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told dpa that "there is no evidence suggesting that the pope is suffering from anything other than [a] cold."

Il Messaggero also wrote that access to former Pope Benedict XVI, who is 92 and lives within the Vatican grounds, has been limited to prevent contagion risks.

The Vatican announced separately the postponement of a global summit on education that Pope Francis was scheduled to host during May 10-17, due to the coronavirus situation.

The meeting, known as the Global Compact on Education and due to bring together religious leaders, charities and representatives of international organizations, was moved to October 11-18.

The Vatican is geographically located within Italy, the country facing the worst coronavirus crisis in Europe, with more than 2,000 infected and 52 dead as of Monday.

On Monday, two new contagion cases were reported in Rome, the first linked to the ongoing virus outbreak, concerning a policeman and a fireman.

Both cases were linked to northern Italy, where the outbreak started.

The policeman is thought to have caught the virus while attending a Jonas Brothers concert near Milan on February 14, Lazio regional health authorities said.

The policeman's wife, two children and sister in law have also tested positive, and 15 people who came into contact with him in a Rome hospital are undergoing tests.

The new coronavirus jumped from an unknown animal species to the human population in China's city of Wuhan at some point in December, and has since spread globally.

dpa

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