Vatican sources said Pope Francis canceled an event in Rome that was scheduled to take place on Thursday due to a “slight indisposition.”
The report comes after Pope Francis showed support for coronavirus suffers on Wednesday by kissing and shaking hands with people who attended a weekly audience at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square.
Photos from the event showed Pope Francis mingling with the people, touching and kissing children, and shaking hands. A few of the people who turned up for the event were photographed wearing masks.
“I want to again express my closeness to those suffering from the coronavirus and the health care workers who are treating them, as well as the civil authorities and all those who are working to help patients and stop the contagion,” Francis reportedly said.
Vatican authorities confirmed Pope Francis canceled an event at the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano (Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran).
He later attended Mass at the Church of Saint Martha in Vatican City on Thursday, according to the Daily Mail.
A Vatican spokesperson said that although Pope Francis would attend other scheduled events during the day, he would not travel outside the Vatican until he is feeling better
The nature of Pope Francis’s illness was not disclosed
The Vatican did not disclose the nature of the illness, but the 83-year-old pontiff was seen coughing, sneezing, and blowing his nose into a white handkerchief while attending the Ash Wednesday Mass.
He appeared unwell.
Coronavirus: Italy is the worst-hit country in Europe
Pope Francis’ “slight indisposition” comes amid an ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Italy.
The Italian authorities were forced to place several towns in the northern region under lockdown to prevent the virus from spreading further across the country.
Public gatherings were banned, and bars, restaurants, cinemas, and clubs were closed as part of efforts to bring the surging numbers of coronavirus infection cases under control.
The BBC reported on Wednesday that more than 400 cases of coronavirus infection had been reported in Italy. Twelve deaths due to coronavirus have also been reported in the country, according to the Independent.
More than 82,000 people are believed to have been infected worldwide, with more than 2,800 deaths reported so far.
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