Pope Francis 'tests negative' for coronavirus, report says


World, Europe

Pope Francis was down with a cold, went on to cancel a Lent retreat for the first time in his papacy

Pope Francis waves to the faithfuls as he delivers the Sunday Angelus prayer from his studio window overlooking Saint Peters Square, at the Vatican (AFP)

Vatican City: Pope Francis has tested negative for the coronavirus, Italian newspaper Messagero reported today.

The Pope had been suffering from a cold. The 83-year-old pontiff has been seen coughing and blowing his nose, but Vatican City on Sunday quickly shot down speculation that the Pope himself had come down with Covid-19.

 Francis cancelled a Lent retreat for the first time in his papacy this weekend, after axing all public meetings at the end of last week over the cold. 

The Messaggero report did not say when Francis had been tested for the disease. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni did not respond to a request for comment on the report in the newspaper.

The new coronavirus has spread from China across much of the world, with Italy among the worst affected with over 2,000 people infected and 52 deaths.