Pope Francis Tests Positive For Coronavirus, Vatican Releases Report

Pope Francis has tested positive for coronavirus after he fell ill in Italy and was forced to cancel a religious retreat near Rome.

The pontiff was down with a heavy cold during his visit to Italy which made him cancel his lent retreat.

The first results for Covid-19 came back negative, and second came positive, according to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero this morning.

The Roman Catholic leader, 83, who had part of one lung removed because of an illness decades ago, also cancelled most audiences last week.

Francis was to have taken part in the week-long retreat with senior Vatican officials that began on Sunday night at a Church residence south of Rome.

But in a surprise announcement hours earlier, he said he would be following it from his residence in a Vatican guest house.

He told thousands who gathered for his weekly appearance from a window high above St Peter’s Square, in the Vatican City, on Sunday that he would not be able to attend due to a cold.

Francis asked for prayers for the Lenten retreat, adding: ‘Unfortunately, a cold prevents me from participating this year… I will be following the meditation from here’.

He has been taken ill at a time when Italy is battling a surging outbreak of the potentially deadly coronavirus.

The death toll in Italy jumped to 52 on Monday from 34 the day before and the total number of confirmed cases in Europe’s worst affected country climbed past the 2,000 mark.