By Robin Gomes
The coronavirus infections (Covid-19) in the Vatican have risen to four from a single case earlier, the Holy See’s Press Office has said.
“At the present moment there are four positive cases of coronavirus,” the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, told reporters on Tuesday.
This includes the first case connected to Vatican City, which was announced on March 6. The new cases include an employee of the merchandise office and two employees of the Vatican Museums.
“The four people were placed in isolation as a precautionary measure before they tested positive and their isolation has now lasted for over 14 days; they are currently being treated in Italian hospitals or at home,” Bruni said.
Smart work guarantees Petrine ministry
In a separate press release, the Holy See Press Office said that in line with the earlier provisions issued on March 11 and in order to avoid the further spread of the infection, the Holy See has established that the Dicasteries and their related bodies do not suspend their activities.
The Press Office further stated that “persons in charge of the Dicasteries are entrusted with the task of continuing to provide essential services to the Universal Church by arranging for a minimum of staff in the office and by encouraging, as far as possible, remote work, to limit the movements of employees and at the same time guarantee the exercise of the Petrine ministry”.
“Furthermore, in the event of contact with the coronavirus by employees of the Holy See or citizens of Vatican City State, the [Vatican's] Directorate of Health and Hygiene has a protocol for the timely communication of cases to the health authorities of their place of residence and to those of Vatican City State,” the press release said.
Italy’s Lazio Region, of which Rome is the local capital, has a total of 1,728 cases, including 1,545 infections currently. The total number of Italy’s coronavirus cases stands at 69,176, including over 54,000 infections currently and 6,820 deaths.
During the current crisis worldwide and Italy’s coronavirus lockdown, Pope Francis, who is Bishop of Rome, is continuing certain aspects of his normal schedule, including his morning Mass, Wednesday’s General Audience and the Sunday Angelus, which are streamed live without the presence of the public.