Vatican City reports its first case of coronavirus days after Pope tested negative

Tourists in St. Peter's Square and along Via della Conciliazione, wear anti-virus masks to protect themselves from coronavirus infection, in Italy on February 29, 2020 positive results to coronavirus There are 888 people infected by the new coronavir (Andrea Ronchini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Vatican City was hit by the virus, with the tiny city-state confirming its first coronavirus case Friday but not saying who was infected. The Vatican has insisted Pope Francis, who has been sick, only has a cold. 

The Vatican said it is working with Italian authorities to keep the coronavirus from spreading, with a suspension of Pope Francis' weekly audiences seen likely.

Earlier this week, the Vatican insisted Pope Francis is only suffering from a cold, not coronavirus. Francis came down with the cold last week, skipped several official audiences and on Sunday announced he would stay home from a week-long spiritual retreat outside Rome to recover.

On Tuesday, Rome daily Il Messaggero reported he had tested negative for the coronavirus.

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Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni didn’t confirm or deny the Messaggero report, but stressed that Francis had been diagnosed with a cold and that it was “running its course, without symptoms linked to other pathologies.”

The 83-year-old Francis generally has good health but he lost part of a lung to a respiratory illness when he was a young man.

Italy is in the midst of a coronavirus emergency in the north, with more than 2,500 positive cases.

The Associated Press contributed to this report