Pope Reportedly Tests Negative for Virus after Vatican Scare

Thu 26 Mar 2020 at 15:00 Corona

NNA - Pope Francis was reported Thursday to have tested negative for the novel coronavirus after a person in his residence was said to have contacted COVID-19.

Several Italian newspapers with reputable sources in the Vatican said the Italian clergyman who got sick had lived for years in the pope's Saint Martha's residence.

Il Messaggero said the person is "one of the pope's closest collaborators, an official of the Secretariate of the State, who was found to have a slight temperature after going in for a routine check".

The daily La Stampa said the unnamed person has been hospitalised in Rome and that his office has been disinfected.

Il Messaggero later reported that the pope himself was tested for the virus and came out clean.

The 83-year-old pontiff has remained largely secluded at his residence since coming down with a cold late last month.

La Stampa said he has been "eating alone in his room for some time" and has food brought to him on a tray by secretaries.

"He spends much of his time in his apartment, and when he moves inside the residence, he keeps the necessary safe distances," La Stampa wrote.

"The anti-contagion cordon has been tight around the pope for weeks."

The official Vatican News site said the number of people infected in the city state has risen to four.--AFP


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