The 83-year-old Roman Catholic leader, Pope Francis on March 1 made his first public appearance in four days following what the Vatican has called a 'slight indisposition'. According to international media reports, the Pope appeared at the window of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace to address thousands of people in St. Peter's Square for his weekly Sunday noon message and blessing. The Pope last appeared in public on Wednesday, when he was seen coughing and blowing his nose during an Ash Wednesday Mass.
The Vatican has not yet revealed the nature of Pope's illness, however, his illness has come amind general alarm in Italy over the coronavirus outbreak. While speaking to an international media outlet, Matteo Bruni dismissed the speculations that the Pope was anything more than slightly unwell. He reportedly said that there is no evidence that would lead to diagnosing anything but a 'mild indisposition'.
According to reports, the 83-year-old also lost part of a lung to a respiratory illness as a young man, however, he has never cancelled so many official audiences or events in his seven-year papacy. He and senior Vatican officials are also expected to travel to a Church residence south of Rome for their annual week-long Lenten spiritual retreat. The Pope will reportedly have no official activities during the retreat.
Earlier this week, though he was ill he, however, continued working from his residence at the Vatican's Santa Marta hotel. The Vatican has also stressed that the Pope has celebrated Mass each morning and greeted attendees at the end, and then proceeded to continue working from home. Although, two of his planned official audiences including, formal affairs in the Apostolic Palace where he would have delivered a speech and greeted a great number of people at the end, were cancelled.
Pope Francis was even expected to take a trip across the town to celebrate Mass with Rome priests, however, that was also cancelled. His illness amid the coronavirus outbreak is also a matter of concern as the deadly virus has already claimed at least 29 lives and infected more than 1,100 people. Italy is also considered to be suffering the worst outbreak of coronavirus in Europe.