Pope Francis has missed a planned Mass with clergy in Rome due to an “unspecified illness.”
The Vatican said the pontiff, 83, had a ‘slight indisposition’ and would proceed with the rest of his planned work today but ‘preferred to stay near Santa Marta’, the Vatican hotel where he lives.
There was no word from the Vatican about the nature of his illness, but the pope was seen coughing and blowing his nose during the Ash Wednesday Mass. Yesterday, he told well-wishers: ‘I wish, again, to express my closeness to those who are ill with coronavirus and to health-care workers who are caring for them.’
It comes amid an outbreak of the strain of coronavirus – also known as Covid-19 – in Italy that has infected more than 400 people, almost all of them in the north. Rome had three cases, but all three were cured.
It is worth noting the Pope seemed fine days before meeting the crowds, the Argentine pope has generally enjoyed good health, although he lost part of one lung as a young man because of respiratory illness.
Although there could be a rush to judgement we will wait for an official announcement on the Pope’s health.