Three days after Pope Francis was reported to be safe from coronavirus after showing flu-like symptoms, the Vatican reported its first confirmed case of coronavirus in the walled city.
Late on Thursday, Italy's Civil Protection Agency said 41 deaths had been reported in the country, taking the total number to 148. More than 3,800 people have been infected with the virus. Being the worst-hit country in Europe, Italy has announced the closure of schools and colleges till March 15.
Vatican suspends its health services
The Vatican disclosed that a patient in its health services was tested positive for the deadly virus on Thursday.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in the wake of the patient testing positive for the virus, the health services in the Vatican clinics were being temporarily suspended for sanitizing and deeper cleaning of the exposed areas. Without disclosing the identity of the patient, or whether he was an outsider or someone within the folds of the Vatican, Bruni said the emergency department would remain open. "However, the first aid facility is still functioning," he said.
"The measures were taken after a patient tested positive with the Covid-19 coronavirus on Thursday. The Directorate of Health and Hygiene is informing the competent Italian authorities and, in the meantime, the planned health protocols have been initiated," he added.
Pope on the road to recovery
A few days ago, a coughing and sneezing Pope had caused a frenzy among his followers. However, it was later revealed that the Pope was suffering from common cold and not coronavirus.
Providing an update on the Pope's health, Bruni said he continued to recover from the cold. "The cold with which the Holy Father was diagnosed is running its due course. He continues to celebrate Holy Mass daily and follow the Spiritual Exercises, as we have reported in recent days," said Bruni.
"With regard to the upcoming activities of the Holy Father, the Holy See, and the Vatican City State, measures are being studied to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Any actions taken, will be done in coordination with measures decreed by the Italian authorities."