Thursday, 8 Jun 2023

Coronavirus hits the Vatican with first confirmed case

The Vatican has reported its first coronavirus case.

The tiny walled city state has announced the suspension of outpatient services at its health clinic after a patient tested positive for COVID-19.

The clinic will be deep cleaned, while the emergency room will remain open, spokesman Matteo Bruni told AFP.

The patient tested positive on Thursday. It's unknown if they are an employee of the Vatican or a member of the clergy.

The clinic is used by priests, residents and employees – including those who are now retired – as well as their relatives.

Bruni said the Vatican was getting in touch with all those who had passed through the clinic, as per protocol.

Pope Francis, who recently cancelled a Lent retreat for the first time in his papacy due to illness, is suffering from
a common cold that is "without symptoms related to other pathologies", according to the Vatican.

Approximately 1,000 people live in the Vatican.

Italy, which borders the Vatican, has been the worst-hit country in Europe affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The death toll reached 148 on Thursday.

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