Pope Francis tests negative for coronavirus after falling ill

Pope Francis, 83, fell ill on Ash Wednesday and was seen coughing during the mass, has tested negative for COVID-19

Pope Francis has been tested negative for coronavirus after he fell ill on Ash Wednesday with symptoms of cold, fever, chills and sore throat. He had also cancelled a Lent retreat for the first time in his papacy.

Francis fell sick after he expressed his solidarity with coronavirus sufferers around the world. "I wish, again, to express my closeness to those who are ill with coronavirus and to health care workers who are caring for them," he said, according to Vatican News.

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Francis cancels his engagements

The Roman Catholic leader cancelled all his engagements last week due to the illness. He was found ill when he appeared for the evening mass on Ash Wednesday. He was seen coughing, sneezing and was generally tired during the ceremony.

The Pope was also supposed to be part of a week-long retreat with senior Vatican officials. But he said he would be following it from his residence in Vatican guest house. "Unfortunately, a cold prevents me from participating this year. I will be following the meditation from here," he announced appearing at the window of Vatican's Apostolic Palace on Sunday after four days of break. Netizens are thanking god on Twitter as he was tested negative for coronavirus.

COVID-19 outbreak in Italy

Italy is the third-most affected country with more than 2,000 cases and 52 deaths due to coronavirus outbreak after South Korea. The European country reported 50 percent increase in cases and has most number of cases outside Asia. Globally, more than 91,000 people have been infected and around 3,000 people have died across more than 60 countries.

Related topics : Coronavirus