17:12 GMT12 April 2021
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    2020 Coronavirus Outbreak (496)
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    The development comes as Italy has recruited retired doctors to battle the coronavirus crisis in the country. The number of infected people in Italy has risen to more than 4,600, while the death toll now stands at 197, the most outside China. On 6 March, the Vatican confirmed its first case of the infectious disease.

    Pope Francis will deliver his next two blessings via a livestream to prevent mass gatherings, which could contribute to the spread of coronavirus. The pontiff will break tradition and won’t deliver the prayer from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square.

    "The prayer will be broadcast via livestream by Vatican News and on screens in Saint Peter's Square", the Vatican said in a statement.

    The Holy See has promised to review Francis’ schedule in order to avoid the spread of the coronavirus as the number of infected continues to rise in Italy. The country has the biggest outbreak in Europe and the greatest death toll after China.

    Pope Francis is now recovering from a cold, as he was seen coughing and blowing his nose while delivering the Sunday Angelus prayer last week. At 83 and with part of his lung removed after suffering life-threatening pneumonia at a young age, the head of the Holy See would be at risk of serious complications if he were to catch Covid-19.

    Meanwhile, Italy has reported its highest jump in fatalities from the disease. 49 people died within 24 hours, while the number of infected has swelled to more than 4,600.

    Topic:
    2020 Coronavirus Outbreak (496)
    Tags:
    Vatican, Holy See, Pope Francis, Italy, coronavirus, COVID-19
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