Vatican: ‘Pope only has cold, not coronavirus’

The Vatican had denied that Pope Francis had caught coronavirus after a Lent retreat was cancelled when he started showing symptoms relating to cough, cold and an illness emanating from exposure to a contagious pathogen.

The Vatican said, the pope was suffering from cold, and his illness was “without symptoms relating to other pathologies”.

As a result of Pope Francis’s symptoms, a Lent retreat was cancelled for the first time in his papacy.

The pontiff coughed and showed signs of ill health during the mass on February 26, 2020, at the Santa Sabina church in Rome.

The Vatican’s statement followed a report in an Italian newspaper that said the pope had tested negative to coronavirus, but it did not state whether the pope had been given a test for the virus or not.

“The cold the Holy Father was diagnosed of cold and he is taking its course without symptoms relating to other pathologies,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

Pope Francis was to take part in a one-week retreat with senior Vatican officials at the Church residence in the south of Rome but could not go at the last minute due to cold.

Bruni said the 83-year-old pontiff, who had part of his lung removed because of an illness decades ago has started leading Church services every morning after his retreat from his residence in a Vatican guest house following the coronavirus scare.

Francis took ill at a time when Italy was battling a surging outbreak of the potentially deadly coronavirus.