Pope Francis has tested negative for coronavirus after he had a “slight indisposition” which forced him to cancel all official activities amid fears in Italy over an outbreak of coronavirus.
The 83-year-old pontiff was reportedly given a ‘routine’ test after falling ill on Ash Wednesday with symptoms of a cold including a cough, fever, chills and sore throat.
He was given a swab test as a precaution but the results have come back negative, according to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero.
Concerns for the Pope’s health started after the pontiff prayed for coronavirus sufferers on Ash Wednesday, while mask free, and even took time to shake hands and kiss worshippers, including a child, in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
The pontiff canceled a series of engagements last week due to illness, and announced on Sunday during his weekly address that he is canceling a planned spiritual retreat because of a cold.
The death toll from Italy’s coronavirus outbreak has risen to 52, as the number of confirmed cases in Europe’s worst affected country climbed past the 2,000 mark.