The pope is being “constantly monitored” for signs of the coronavirus, according to a top Vatican official, after the pontiff met with Philippine cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle who has since tested positive.
Tagle, who had a private audience with 83-year-old Pope Francis on August 29, tested positive for Covid-19 on his return to Manila on September 10.
“We are being prudent,” Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said, ANSA news agency reported on Monday. The health of the head of the Catholic Church is being constantly monitored, he said, adding, however, that currently “there is no particular alarm” over it in the Vatican.
The pope usually talks to those who visit him at the Apostolic Palace without wearing a face mask. Last week, he was seen wearing one for the first time since the start of the pandemic, but took it off to chat to the faithful. However, he had to suspend his usual practice of shaking hands and kissing babies.
In March, the pope was tested for the coronavirus when a prelate living in the same residence was found to be positive.
At his second weekly general audience with public participation, after six months of virtual audiences, Pope Francis said on September 9 that no one should seek political gain from the coronavirus and that vaccine developers should not see it as a chance to make a profit.
He asked about 500 people in the Vatican’s San Damaso courtyard to remain in their seats to maintain social distancing. He also told them in the address that the pandemic should spur everyone to work for the common good.
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