Pope tested negative for coronavirus, report from Italy confirmed

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Pope Francis, who aborted a Lent retreat for the first time during his papacy because he’s suffering from a cold, tests negative for the new coronavirus, the Italian newspaper II Messaggero said on Tuesday.

Increasing cases of coronavirus across Italy

Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni said Francis had no immediate comment on the announcement.

The 83-year-old leader of Roman Catholic, who had undergone one lung removed because of a sickness decades ago, also canceled most audiences past week.

He was to have taken part in the week-long retreat with frontline Vatican officials. The retreat began on Sunday night at a Church residence south of Rome.
But in a sudden announcement hours before, Francis said he would be following it from his residence in a guest house in the Vatican.

He has been taken ill at a time when Italy is coping with a surging outbreak of a potentially deadly virus: coronavirus.

Up to Monday, the death toll in Italy crossed 52 from 34 the day earlier. The total number of reported cases in Europe’s worst affected country jumped over the 2,000 mark.

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