Pope Tests Negative for COVID-19

Pope Francis, who is suffering from a cold, has tested negative for the coronavirus, an Italian newspaper reported on March 3, as Italy battles Europe’s worst outbreak.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni did not respond to a request for comment on a newspaper report.

Francis canceled a Lent retreat for the first time in his papacy this weekend, after axing all public meetings over the cold.

The new coronavirus has spread from China across much of the world, with Italy among the worst affected with over 2,000 people infected and 52 deaths.

The 83-year-old pontiff has been seen coughing and blowing his nose, but the Vatican on March 1 quickly shot down speculation that the pope himself had come down with COVID-19.

The newspaper report did not say when Francis had been tested for the disease.

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