Vatican denies Pope Francis has contracted COVID-19

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/1 17:52:45

Pope Francis (left) arrives for the weekly general audience in the Paul-VI hall at the Vatican on Wednesday. Pope Francis urged his hearers to cultivate the virtue of meekness, underscoring the destructive power of anger, media reported. The sin of anger is "a violent emotion whose impulse we all know," the pope told the thousands gathered in the Vatican. Photo: AFP

 The Vatican has told the Global Times that "there is no evidence to diagnose the Pope with anything other than being slightly unwell," in response to reports that the Pope has contracted COVID-19.

Social media posts recently circulated that Pope Francis and two aides tested positive for COVID-19. The Pope canceled a third day of scheduled events on Saturday to recuperate from what the Vatican called "slight indisposition," according to media reports. 

A spokesperson from the Holy See Press Office told the Global Times on Sunday in an email that "His [Pope Francis'] meetings proceeded regularly at Santa Marta even yesterday," refuting rumors that the Pope tested positive for COVID-19. 

Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Saturday, "There is no coronavirus in the Vatican, yet!" But he said the Vatican is taking necessary measures, as some Vatican officials just returned from China in December, just as the epidemic was starting.

In January, the Pope praised what he called China's "great commitment" to contain the coronavirus outbreak, and later the Vatican's charity arm sent hundreds of thousands of medical masks and supplies to China as a goodwill gesture.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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