Coronavirus: Vatican confirms 1st COVID-19 case as pope recovers from cold

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican confirmed the walled city-state’s first case of the new coronavirus Friday and closed some offices as a precaution while Pope Francis continued recovering from a cold.

A health clinic inside Vatican City was closed for sanitizing following the positive test result received Thursday, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said. Vatican employees and their families are eligible for health care at the clinic.

One Vatican official was put into a protective quarantine after a priest from France’s Catholic church in Rome tested positive for the virus. The official isn’t showing symptoms of COVID-19 disease but lives in the same church as the infected priest.

The Vatican Apostolic Library said it would keep its doors shut all next week as a precaution. The library welcomes scholars from around the world to consult the Vatican’s manuscripts and archives.

Francis came down with a cold over a week ago, and the Vatican has said that he has no other pathologies. The 83-year-old pope, who lost part of one lung to a respiratory illness when he was a young man, canceled his participation at a week-long spiritual retreat in the Roman countryside as a result.

The pope was seen coughing during his traditional Sunday blessing from a window above St. Peter’s Square, and during Ash Wednesday Mass last week, he was seen coughing and blowing his nose.

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