ROME — The Vatican has confirmed Friday that a patient in its health services has tested positive for COVID-19, making it the Vatican’s first case of coronavirus.
The head of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, said in an email early Friday that the Vatican has temporarily shut down its outpatient services for “sanitization” after a patient tested positive for the virus on Thursday.
Bruni added that emergency services will continue and that the Vatican had informed Italian authorities of the situation.
Earlier this week, Pope Francis himself was tested for coronavirus as a precaution, but the test results came back negative.
Francis had been sick for several days with a cold and stayed home this week from his yearly Lenten retreat, provoking rumors in some quarters that perhaps the pope had been infected with the virus.
The pope skipped a number of official meetings last week and his spokesman stated that he was suffering from a “slight indisposition.”
The 83-year-old pontiff had part of one lung removed due to an illness decades ago.
As of Wednesday evening, Italy had 3296 cases of infection with coronavirus as well as 148 deaths from the disease. The number of those cured of the virus jumped even more significantly, however, and now total 414.