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2020.03.11 Udienza Generale The General Audience for Wednesday, 11 March, being livestreamed from the Apostolic Library  (Vatican Media)

Pope offers heartfelt thanks for efforts to combat coronavirus

Pope Francis says all those battling Covid 19 – those who are afflicted, but also doctors, nurses, caregivers and others – are close to his heart. He also urges people to remember the sufferings of Syrian refugees on the border between Greece and Turkey.

By Vatican News

At the Wednesday General Audience – which was livestreamed from the Apostolic Library – Pope Francis turned his thoughts towards all those, in Italy and around the world, who are struggling against the coronavirus epidemic.

As of Tuesday, more than 120,000 cases of the coronavirus had been identified worldwide, and more than 4,300 people have died from the disease. Almost 67,000 people affected have recovered, and internationally, doctors and scientists are working to find a vaccine. Several of the most severely hit countries, including Italy, have seen their healthcare systems sorely tried by the outbreak, and are adopting stringent measures to halt the spread of the disease.

The sick and those who care for them

In his remarks at the General Audience, Pope Francis turned his thoughts to those on the frontlines of the struggle against Covid 19.


Right now, I would like to speak directly to all those ill with the coronavirus, who are suffering from this sickness, and to the many people suffering uncertainty related to their own illnesses. I offer my heartfelt thanks to hospital personnel, doctors, nurses, and volunteers who in this difficult moment are close to people who are suffering.

The Holy Father also expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the faithful who are praying for relief for those who are suffering, thanking “all Christians, and men and women of goodwill, who are praying - united together, no matter the religious tradition to which they belong. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your efforts”.

The suffering of Syrian refugees

But though the world’s attention is focused on the coronavirus epidemic, Pope Francis also recalled the plight of “the poor Syrians who are suffering on the border between Greece and Turkey, a people who have suffered for many years”. He noted that they have been forced to flee from their homes on account of war, hunger, and disease. “Let us not forget our brothers and sisters, including so many children, who are suffering there”.

11 March 2020, 14:15