VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has canceled his official audiences for Friday after coming down with a cold.
The Vatican has reported that the 83-year-old pope celebrated morning Mass as usual and even went ahead to greet participants who participated in the Mass.
His plans to keep his private meeting schedules has been cancelled according to the Vatican citing “slight indisposition” and would continue on with the rest of his planned work , but “preferred to stay near Santa Marta,” the Vatican hotel where he lives.
Yesterday, the Pontiff told well-wishers:
“I wish, again, to express my closeness to those who are ill with coronavirus and to health-care workers who are caring for them.”
No illness in particular has been fingered so far, because the Vatican hasn’t said what exactly Pope Francis is battling with. Though it was clear he he was coughing and blowing his nose during Ash Wednesday Mass this week.
Pope Francis has not specifically touched coronavirus victims, but he shook hands with the faithful as he always does who sat at the front row during the audience. He also kissed a baby during his popemobile spin through St. Peter’s Square while greeting visiting bishops.
His illness comes amid an outbreak of the coronavirus in Italy that has sickened more than 650 people, almost all of them in the north. Rome had three cases, but all three have recovered.