Pope clear of coronavirus despite four Vatican staff diagnosed with virus

Catholics around the world were concerned earlier this month when Pope Francis cancelled several public engagements after contracting what was described by the Vatican as a “light cold.”

There were worries that the 83-year-old pontiff might have caught coronavirus, given that the epidemic has become increasingly widespread in Italy.

But anxieties were allayed when the Argentinian-born Vicar of Christ was tested for COVID-19 and was given a clean bill of health by medics.

This week it was revealed that one of the priests at Saint Martha's guest house has tested positive for the virus, bringing the number of Vatican staff infected to four.

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The Pope, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in 1936, was obliged to undergo a second unpleasant swab test – which has again come back negative.

Vatican staff are taking stringent precautions to keep Pope Francis isolated from possible infection.

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“He spends much of his time in his apartment, and when he moves inside the residence, he keeps the necessary safe distances,' reports Italian daily La Stampa. “The anti-contagion has been tight around the pope for weeks.”

The Pope insisted on using Saint Martha's guest house as his own residence despite the availability of the luxurious Apostolic Palace,

As well as being quite elderly, the Pope is considered at high risk because he had part of his lung removed as a young man.

“It was probably a pretty bad infection, and maybe even an abscess, that might have caused him to bleed,” Dr. John Belperio, a professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine for the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA told Time Magazine.

“If he were bleeding a lot in the lung, the only thing to do is to resect the lung, take it out, to stop the bleeding.”

The Pope has reportedly said he does not intend to move to an alternative residence despite cases of the disease in Vatican city.

“At the present moment there are four positive cases of coronavirus,” the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, told reporters on Tuesday, adding that the cases include an employee of the merchandise office and two employees of the Vatican Museums .

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