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Relief As Pope Francis Tests Negative For Coronavirus

By Keefa Nuwahereza

Catholics all over the world are sighing with relief after Pope Francis tested negative for Coronavirus, following  his being hospitalized over the weekend with symptoms and signs of the deadly virus.

Sources in Rome reveal that Pope Francis, who canceled a Lent retreat for the first time in his papacy because he is suffering from a cold, on Tuesday tested negative for coronavirus.

However, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said he had no immediate comment on the report. The 83-year-old Roman Catholic leader, who had part of one lung removed because of an illness decades ago, also canceled most audiences last week.

Pope Francis was supposed  to have taken part in the week-long retreat with senior Vatican officials that began on Sunday night at a Church residence south of Rome.

But in a surprise announcement hours earlier, he said he would be following it from his residence in a Vatican guest house, because of ill health.

He was however taken ill at a time when Italy is battling a surging outbreak of the potentially deadly coronavirus.

The death toll in Italy jumped to 52 on Monday from 34 the day before and the total number of confirmed cases in Europe’s worst affected country climbed past the 2,000 mark.

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