Vatican: priest at pope's residence tests positive for Coronavirus

Five cases of Coronavirus in Vatican City.

An Italian monsignor employed at the Vatican Secretariat of State has been hospitalised after testing positive for Coronavirus, sources informed Italian news agency ANSA.

The priest has lived for some time at the Casa S. Marta, the same Vatican residence where Pope Francis lives.

The prevention measures provided for in the health protocols have been adopted for the building and its residents, reports ANSA.

The priest is the fifth person to become infected by Covid-19 in the Vatican whose chief press officer Matteo Bruni announced on 24 March: "At present there are four positive cases of Coronavirus."
Casa S. Marta, the pope's residence.
This includes the first case connected to Holy See - when a patient being treated by the Vatican's health services tested positive for the virus on 6 March.

New cases

The new cases include an employee of the Vatican's freight department and two employees of the Vatican Museums.

“The four people were placed in isolation as a precautionary measure before they tested positive and their isolation has now lasted for over 14 days; they are currently being treated in Italian hospitals or at home,” Bruni said.

On 25 March, Pope Francis invited all Christian denominations to participate in praying the Our Father at midday.

The pontiff also reiterated his invitation to participate spiritually, through the media, in the moment of prayer at which he will preside on 27 March, at 18.00, in front of St Peter’s Basilica, which he will conclude with his Urbi et Orbi blessing.

Surprise move

On 15 March, in a surprise move, the pope left the Vatican to pray at two Rome churches for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pontiff prayed first at the Basilica of S. Maria Maggiore near the capital's central train station before making his way to the church of S. Marcello al Corso in city centre, where he prayed at the foot of a wooden crucifix that protected Rome from a great plague in 1522.

Silent pilgrimage

The pope walked to the second church, in a silent pilgrimage of prayer, and the Vatican released a dramatic photograph showing the pontiff making his way along a normally bustling Via del Corso, now deserted due to the nationwide lockdown.

St Peter's
On 10 March the Vatican sealed off St Peter's, both the square and the basilica, two days after the Vatican Museums closed their doors, in line with Italy's museum closure.

Rome churches

At the same time the diocese of Rome suspended all Masses for the faithful. The city's churches remain open, after the pontiff apparently overruled a decision by Rome's Cardinal Vicar to close them, however Rome's chapels and shrines are closed.

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Vatican: priest at pope's residence tests positive for Coronavirus

00120, Vatican City