Vatican Swiss Guards contract COVID-19, sparking concerns about Pope Francis

Vatican Swiss Guards contract COVID-19, sparking concerns about Pope Francis

10/12/2020

Four Swiss Guards at the Vatican exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 and tested positive for the virus over the weekend — sparking new fears that the pope is in danger of contracting it.

The infected members of the famous guard unit, whose duties include protecting the 83-year-old pontiff, are now in isolation, the Vatican said Monday.

The guards’ recent contact with others is also being traced.

Three additional Vatican residents have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent weeks. At least a dozen other Vatican officials contracted the virus in the early days of the pandemic.

Pope Francis is considered among those most vulnerable to the devastating effects of the virus given his age and the fact that he lost part of his right lung from an infection when young.

Still, he has repeatedly refused to wear a mask at times — including Monday, during a visit with cleared accused sex-abuser Cardinal George Pell, and last week, when he worked a crowd during a general audience.

In early March, a coughing pope said a cold was preventing him from an upcoming weeklong spiritual retreat, leading to concerns he might be coming down with the virus. Vatican officials said at the time that he did not have the disease.

With Associated Press

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