The Pope was due to go to the Basilica of St. John’s in Lateran this morning for a Lenten service with Roman priests but did not attend because he had a “slight indisposition”.

Spokesman Matteo Bruni said: “Because of a slight indisposition, he preferred to stay inside Santa Marta.

“All other commitments will go ahead regularly.”

The nature of the Pope’s illness was not disclosed, but he was seen coughing and blowing his nose during the Ash Wednesday Mass.

It comes amid an outbreak of the strain of coronavirus in Italy that has infected more than 400 people, almost all of them in the north.

Despite the outbreak, the Pope has not hesitated to get out of his vehicle to greet and kiss attendees.

More to follow…

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega



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