Since his March 4 public appearance before a large gathering, during which Pope Francis was seen coughing and sneezing, there has been a fear that the Holy Seer could be at Coronavirus (COVID 19) risk, especially as most of Vatican employees live in Italy - the most COVID 19 affected country in Europe.
And now there is much to worry as on Friday, Vatican announced its first case of Coronavirus, following which the walled city announced a shut down of all healthcare services till it was disinfected as per protocol.
According to Reuters, this development inside Vatican City could spell dome as there are now high chances that the highly contagious COVID 19 virus may have already spread further in the capital of Italy since most Vatican employees live in Rome and those who live in the Vatican frequently enter and leave the city-state.
In Europe, Italy has been the worst affected and as reports, in the last 24 hours, 41 new COVID-19 deaths have occurred. The total number of infected has crossed 4,000, while the number of death stands at 148.
Given the grim situation surrounding the tiny city-state, there is much fear for the health of the Holy Father. The Vatican clergy and guards besides other employees frequent Italy and known to the health facilities inside Vatican. Inside the 108-acre city-state, only a few clergy and guards live while the remaining members of the Holy Office live in Italy.
Pope Francis coughing and sneezing in public created quite a scare as soon after that the Holy Father announced that he had canceled a Lent retreat for the first time in his papacy and it is also the first time since 1950 a Pope had not attended a Lenten retreat.
The Vatican has maintained that Pope Francis is suffering only from a cold that is "without symptoms related to other pathologies."
The Vatican has also said it is studying measures to modify the pope's activities to avoid the spread of coronavirus in coordination with measures by the Italian government, which include encouraging people not to gather in large numbers.
The Diocese of Rome decided to cancel all "non-sacramental activities" until March 15. Catechism classes, marriage preparation courses, retreats, pilgrimages, and almost all group activities have been canceled.