Man at Pope’s house tests COVID-positive

A man living in the same Vatican residence as Pope Francis has returned a COVID-positive test.

The Vatican says those with whom the symptomless man had direct contact are in quarantine, as is he.

The man is the first to test COVID-positive at the Santa Marta residence – which has about 130 rooms and suites – since the pandemic hit Italy in March.

Francis, who had part of a lung removed when he was a young man, is tested regularly for COVID-19.

He often seems out of breath and speaks in a whisper because of his lung condition, suggesting that wearing a mask might be particularly uncomfortable for him.

He apologized to the faithful last Wednesday for not being able to greet them and shake their hands as Italy posted a record spike in COVID19 (coronavirus) infections that is threatening to once again spiral out of control.

Instead of wading into the crowd to embrace the sick and kiss babies during his weekly general audience, he walked in through a back door directly onto the stage to begin his catechism lesson.

“I would like to come down as usual and get close to you to greet you, but with new prescriptions, we would better keep our distances,” he said.

He followed his usual schedule on Saturday however, receiving three people in separate private audiences and addressing a large group of people.

The Vatican, a tiny city-state surrounded by Rome, has had about 24 confirmed cases of the virus in total.

Three Vatican residents who tested positive recently have recovered, the Vatican’s statement confirms.

Eleven Swiss Guards – the small army that protects Pope Francis have tested positive for COVID-19. Of these, seven were confirmed COVID-positive last week.

The Swiss Guards say there is more testing within the 135-member corps, with a reshuffling of schedules to “avoid all risks of contagion.”


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