Amid coronavirus scare, Pope Francis falls ill day after shaking, kissing worshippers


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The Vatican says Pope Francis has suffered a ‘slight indisposition’, a fancy expression for falling ill.

The disclosure comes a day after the pontiff expressed solidarity with coronavirus victims and shook and kissed Catholic faithful after Ash Wednesday Mass in Rome.

The Argentine pope was seen coughing and blowing his nose at the ceremony.

He was due to meet Rome clergy at the St John Lateran basilica and celebrate a penitential Mass at the start of Lent, which he could not attend due to the illness.

According to the Vatican, the 83-year-old Pope would proceed with the rest of his planned work today but ‘preferred to stay near Santa Marta’, the Vatican hotel where he lives, rather than go round the city.

There has been no word about the nature of the Pope’s illness.

Addressing worshippers yesterday, he said, “I wish, again, to express my closeness to those who are ill with coronavirus and to health-care workers who are caring for them.”

This is just as no fewer than 400 persons have been infected by COVID-19, popularly called coronavirus, majorly in Northern Italy.

Although three persons were diagnosed with the ailment in Rome, all three were cured.

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