Pope Francis health update: How is Pope Francis doing?
Coronavirus has established a foothold in Europe via Italy, where it has infected thousands of people and killed hundreds more. COVID-19 now threatens millions more as it uses Italy as a pathway to other countries, with cases now steadily increasing in nations including the UK, Germany and France.
How is Pope Francis doing?
COVID-19 has now clawed its way through all of Italy’s 22 regions, with recent infections reported in Rome.
The Italian government has reduced Rome to a shadow of its former self, a ghost-town with closed schools and strict rules surrounding public gatherings.
At its centre is the cultural hub and city-state of Vatican City, which recorded its first case today, a week after Supreme Pontiff fell ill.
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Pope Francis fell ill with a cold last week, and he is still recovering today.
The 83-year-old head of the Catholic Church lost a portion of his lung during childhood due to a respiratory infection, drawing out his recovery.
While the Vatican confirmed he has no other pathologies, he has pulled out of several duties.
The few times he was seen in public, including his traditional Sunday blessing and Ash Wednesday blessing last week, he was spotted coughing and blowing his nose.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told Time the Pope’s recovery was proceeding well, and that he continues to receive guests and conduct daily mass.
As lent proceeds, however, the Pope will operate on a reduced schedule.
He was due to deliver an Easter Day message to revellers in St Peter’s Square on Good Friday and preside over the Way of the Cross procession at the Colisseum, both of which he will no longer attend.
The plans form part of the Italian government’s wider actions, as they move to restrict public gatherings which could facilitate increasing COVID-19 cases.
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The public has shown a mix of reactions, as some believe the government response was lacking, while others hail them as a step too far.
Speaking to Sky News’ Europe Correspondent Michelle Clifford, mother Christina Verdone said the government should have started closing schools months ago.
She said: “[Closing schools] is the right decision. But not now.
“I think they should have done it months ago. Early January for sure.”
Italy’s coronavirus caseload spiked in early February this year, forcing authorities to take drastic steps to contain the infection.
Walter Ricciardi, Professor of Hygiene and Public Health at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome, told Sky the government measures could prove ineffective.
He said: “It is dramatic actually, the things that we are advising.
“And based on evidence and the closing of schools, there is actually limited evidence that these measures are effective.
“But to contain, we still believe that this is appropriate to do it now.”
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