Pope cancels audiences for third day with apparent cold

TEHRAN, Feb. 29 (MNA) – Pope Francis canceled official engagements for the third day in a row Saturday as he battled an apparent cold.

The 83-year-old pope, who lost part of a lung to a respiratory illness as a young man, has never canceled so many official audiences or events in his seven-year papacy, according to Associated Press.

Francis is, however, continuing to work from his residence at the Vatican’s Santa Marta hotel and is receiving people in private, the Vatican press office said. On Saturday, those private meetings were with the head of the Vatican’s bishops’ office, Francis’ ambassadors to Lebanon and France and a Ukrainian archbishop.

Francis last appeared in public on Wednesday, when he was seen coughing and blowing his nose during an Ash Wednesday Mass. The following day, he canceled a Mass across town with Roman priests and on Friday, skipped an audience with participants of a Vatican conference on artificial intelligence.

The Vatican hasn’t revealed the nature of Francis’ illness, saying only he has a “slight indisposition.” Francis’ illness, though, has come amid general alarm in Italy over the coronavirus outbreak, which has sickened more than 800 people, most in northern Italy.

MNA/PR

News Code 156160

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