Pope cancels Vatican addresses over coronavirus fears and will hold services via live stream for first time – The Sun

THE Pope has today cancelled his Vatican addresses and will hold services via live stream for first time amid coronavirus fears.

The pontiff scrapped his Sunday speech to avoid crowds from gathering to see him as the deadly bug continues to spread across the globe.

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The pope normally addresses crowds from a window overlooking St Peter's Square, with thousands normally gathering to hear him.

But the Vatican said he would not hold the Sunday service, and would not hold his general audience there on Wednesday.

It comes just days after Vatican City confirmed its first case days after Pope Francis cancelled Mass and a spiritual retreat due to a cold.

The 83-year-old tested negative for coronavirus after he called off a week-long Lent retreat that had been due to begin on Sunday.

During an Ash Wednesday service in St Peter's Basilica last week, the Pope was seen blowing his nose, coughing, and rubbing his eyes.

Footage showed him coughing and sneezing while delivering a blessing in St Peter's Square at the Vatican on Sunday after four days out of the public eye.

Referring to the Lent retreat during the address, he said: “Unfortunately a cold will force me not take part this year.

"I will follow the meditations from here."

The pontiff lives in an apartment in a block inside the walls of Vatican City.

The Argentine Pope has broadly enjoyed good health, though decades ago had part of one lung removed after suffering TB and also suffers from sciatica, which makes it more difficult for him to walk.


Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the city state's emergency services will continue, adding that the Vatican had informed Italian health authorities of the positive case.

Italy is the worst hit country in Europe when it comes to coronavirus, with 49 people dying in 24 hours.

More than 4,900 cases have been reported in total.

Across the globe, more than 100,000 people worldwide have contracted the virus, with the most deaths in mainland China.

It comes after two people in the UK died of coronavirus this week, including an 88-year-old man and a woman in her 70s.

Meanwhile pensioners in the UK could be urged to stay home from next week to stop them from being infected.

Boris Johnson said the over 65s were "particularly vulnerable" and ministers were looking at specific guidance to make sure they don't catch the deadly bug.

'Social distancing' policies could see the elderly warned to go into lockdown, sports events cancelled and schools closed in drastic measures to delay the spread of the deadly bug.

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