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Speculation swirls that Pope has been infected by coronavirus

Pope Francis coughs as he leads the weekly Angelus prayer in St Peter's Square at the Vatican, March 1, 2020. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS

PortandTerminal.com, March 1, 2020

Pope Francis has cancelled a third day of scheduled events to recuperate from an undisclosed illness. There is growing speculation that the Pope may have contracted coronavirus.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis said he was skipping a planned week-long retreat outside Rome with members of the Vatican curia, citing a cold that has kept him from several public events over the past few days.

Francis, 83, made the announcement during his regular noon Sunday prayers and remarks delivered from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square. He paused twice during the event to cough Bloomberg reported today.

READ: Coronavirus explodes in Italy. Europe threatened. Markets spooked

The timing of the Pope’s illness has raised alarms that he may have contracted coronavirus, or Covid-19.

There is however no official statement from the Vatican as to whether he has been tested for Covid-19.

The surprise announcement, which will keep him from attending a gathering he holds dear, marked the first health scare for the 83-year-old pontiff since his election in 2013 (Reuters).

Associated France Presse (AFP) news agency is reporting this morning that Pope Francis says he is cancelling a planned retreat due to ‘cold’. Pope Francis has canceled a third day of scheduled events to recuperate from an undisclosed illness.

Pope Francis is working from the Vatican’s Santa Marta hotel during his recovery, papal officials said, who noted he continues to attend Mass each morning.

His absence — the longest sick leave of his papacy — comes as coronavirus sweeps Italy. The country has reported 1,100 cases and at least 21 deaths, according to the latest numbers; Italy is now the most infected nation after China.

Bottom line

Whether Pope Francis does have coronavirus or he doesn’t, and we hope that he doesn’t, the very notion that a figure as prominent and protected as he COULD conceivably have caught it is unnerving.

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