Pope Francis has tested negative for Coronavirus after he canceled official audiences for a second day in succession after being taken ill.
The Vatican said the 83-year-old had celebrated Ash Wednesday with classic symptoms of a cold including a cough, fever, chills and sore throat, as usual, he greeted participants at the end. He planned to keep his private meeting schedule as planned but decided to cancel official audiences.
His illness comes amid an outbreak of coronavirus which has infected 650 people in Italy and caused disruption across the north of the country. Rome has had three cases, but all three people have recovered.
He was given a swab test as a precaution but the results have come back negative, according to an Italian newspaper.
Pope Francis fell ill as Italy battles a coronavirus outbreak that has sickened many people and killed 52.
While Rome had no active cases at the time of his illness, fears were raised that he could have unknowingly contracted the disease after he was pictured shaking hands and kissing faces in a crowd of well-wishers.
The fact that his doctors saw fit to test him for the illness shows those fears were shared by Vatican staff, though they have now been allayed.
On Tuesday it was also revealed that the Vatican has quarantined its first member of staff over fears they may have contracted the disease.
The worker had come into contact with a French priest currently hospitalized in Paris who is thought to have the illness and has been placed in isolation as a precaution. Francis’s last full day of public engagements was on Ash Wednesday when he appeared ill while taking part in an evening Mass.
He was seen coughing, sneezing and appeared tired during the ceremony, before canceling an engagement the following morning.
He then disappeared from public view for the next four days while he recovered, before appearing at the window of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on Sunday to address thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square for a noon blessing.
During the blessing, he announced he would not be participating in a yearly spiritual retreat for Lent that was due to start this week.
Instead, he said he would be following it from his residence in a Vatican guest house.
He has been taken ill at a time when Italy is battling a surging outbreak of the potentially deadly coronavirus.
The death toll in Italy jumped to 52 on Monday from 34 the day before and the total number of confirmed cases in Europe’s worst affected country climbed past the 2,000 marks.Subscribe to watch new videos
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