On Wednesday, Italian magazine Il Messaggero reported a resident of the Casa Santa Marta – where Pope Francis lives – was confirmed positive for coronavirus.
That resident was 58 year old Father Gianluca Pezzoli, a Vatican official for the Secretariat of State. Father Pezzoli was “admitted for observation” but his health “is not a cause for concern.” The Diocese of Mantua confirmed Pezzoli’s test results, but did not divulge anything further about his condition or whereabouts.
Il Messaggero also reported that measures to protect Pope Francis “had already been activated.”
“To begin with, Pope Francis lives practically imprisoned in a few places, in the morning he celebrates alone in the chapel with his three secretaries, has lunch in solitude in his room even if he still receives the heads of the ministry in the morning, often in the apostolic palace where there is more space. The meetings take place at a safe distance. Guests are given hand sanitizers by the secretaries.”
Pezzoli is the fifth confirmed case of coronavirus in Vatican City, the previous four having been “placed in isolation as a precaution before they tested positive and their isolation has already lasted for over 14 days; currently they are being treated in Italian hospitals or at home” according to Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni on Tuesday.
The first case was a patient testing positive in the Vatican’s outpatient health facilities on March 5th. The new cases include a merchandise office employee and two other Vatican employees.