Coronavirus: Vatican suspends health services
By Vatican News
The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, told reporters on Friday morning that the Vatican’s healthcare services have been temporarily shuttered to disinfect facilities used for outpatient services. The Emergency department remains open.
He said the measures were taken after a patient tested positive with the Covid-19 coronavirus on Thursday.
“The Directorate of Health and Hygiene is informing the competent Italian authorities and, in the meantime, the planned health protocols have been initiated,” he added.
Pope on the mend
Earlier, on Thursday evening, Mr. Bruni briefed the media on Pope Francis’ health, as he continues to recover from a common cold.
“The cold with which the Holy Father was diagnosed is running its due course. He continues to celebrate Holy Mass daily and follow the Spiritual Exercises, as we have reported in recent days.”
Vatican activities may be affected
Mr. Bruni also told reporters that the Vatican is considering ways to avoid spreading the Covid-19 coronavirus.
“With regard to the upcoming activities of the Holy Father, the Holy See, and the Vatican City State, measures are being studied to prevent the spread of Covid-19”.
Any actions taken, he said, will be done in coordination with measures decreed by the Italian authorities.
Masses, charity continue in Rome
The Diocese of Rome has cancelled all “non-sacramental activities” until 15 March.
These include catechism classes, marriage preparation courses, retreats, pilgrimages, and most other group activities.
Eucharistic celebrations continue normally in Rome’s churches. But priests are discouraged from inviting the faithful to exchange the sign of peace. Holy Water fonts are also to be emptied.
Despite these precautionary measures, Caritas Rome says the Church’s acts of charity toward the poor will not stop.
Local churches are encouraged to keep soup kitchens open and to provide shelter for the homeless and refugees, while respecting Italian hygiene and sanitary directives.