PortandTerminal.com, February 28, 2020
Pope Francis canceled audiences for a second day this week, after falling ill with an as-yet undisclosed sickness. The pontiff’s symptoms come amid a growing coronavirus outbreak in Italy, which has seen over 655 cases and 17 deaths.
VATICAN CITY – There are several unconfirmed reports breaking now that Pope Francis may have been infected with the coronavirus, or COVID19. We have chosen to run this news due to the seriousness of the outbreak in Italy and the recent confirmed reports of several other prominent politicians contracting it.
Yesterday it was reported that Iran’s former ambassador to the Vatican and prominent cleric Hadi Khosrowshahi died of coronavirus.
Pope Francis cancelled a special church service on Thursday due to illness. In the announcement, the Vatican did not specify the nature of the illness, but Pope Francis was seen coughing and blowing his nose during Ash Wednesday Mass the previous day.
The Pope is 83 years old and the elderly are particularly susceptible to the respiratory ailment. The Pope is missing a part of one lung. It was removed when he was in his early 20s in his native Buenos Aires after he suffered from tuberculosis, according to biographer Austen Ivereigh.
At the Ash Wednesday ceremony in St. Peter’s Square where he greeted the crowd, many of whom wore surgical masks, and even hugged people. At the event, the Pope expressed solidarity with sufferers of the coronavirus.
Speaking on Wednesday during the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said, “I wish, again, to express my closeness to those who are ill with coronavirus and to health-care workers who are caring for them.”
He later greeted visiting bishops who were reportedly distant, refraining from kissing his ring or embracing him as they normally would.
Parts of Italy are under quarantine now as the virus tears through the country. As of February 28, Italy has 655 confirmed cases of the virus and 17 recorded deaths.
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