Pope Francis has tested negative for the coronavirus after he fell ill and was forced to cancel a religious retreat near Rome, according to the report on Tuesday.
For the first time since he became Pope, the pontiff did not go to the week-long Lent retreat that began on Sunday night at a Church residence south of Rome, as he was suffering from a heavy cold, the Metro newspaper said in the report.
But Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said he had no immediate comment on the report.
Pope Francis fell ill as Italy was battling a surging outbreak of the potentially deadly coronavirus.
Earlier on Monday, the deadly coronavirus outbreak has claimed 3,000 lives after China reported 42 recent deaths. The new fatalities were all in the virus epicentre Hubei province, the National Health Commission said, bringing the overall toll in mainland China to 2, 943.
Last week, President Donald Trump announced a news conference from the White House on the coronavirus epidemic with experts warning they expect it to spread in the United States.
Francis’ appearance on Sunday was the first time he has been seen publicly since As of Wednesday when he was also seen coughing and blowing his nose during Mass, the Metro newspaper reported.
Earlier this week, he cancelled two planned official audiences – formal affairs in the Apostolic Palace where Francis would have delivered a speech and greeted a great number of people at the end.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday that the virus appears to particularly hit those over the age of 60 and people already weakened by other illnesses.
Italy has had 1,700 cases and South Korea has had 4,000.
Pope was continuing to work from his residence at the Vatican’s Santa Marta hotel and was receiving people in private, the Vatican said.