- Pope Francis has reportedly tested negative for coronavirus following a series of 'routine' checks
- The pontiff, 83, sparked frightening rumours of coronavirus infection after he repeatedly coughed and sneezed while also showing signs of fatigue during a public appearance
- Pope Francis' last public appearance was on Ash Wednesday, a Christian holy day of prayer and fasting
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Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City, has reportedly tested negative to coronavirus, bringing a sigh of relief amid tension generated by his health.
The 83-year-old Catholic leader was forced to cancel a string of engagements last week after showing symptoms suggestive of the common cold including coughing, fever, chills and a hoarse throat.
Pope's health condition sparked frightening rumours with local media reporting that he might have contracted the deadly coronavirus after meeting with Catholic faithful during the Ash Wednesday events on 26 February.
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But in a report by a top media outlet in Italy Messaggero, the Pope tested negative to the virus following a series of 'routine' checks.
According to the newspaper, Pope was given a swab test as a precaution but the results came back negative.
Pope Francis' last public appearance was on Ash Wednesday, a Christian holy day of prayer and fasting where he exhibited signs of fatigue.
During the ceremony, the Vatican leader announced he would be following the yearly spiritual retreat from his guest room instead of getting fully involved.
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Earlier Briefly.co.za reported that Pope Francis fell sick days after praying for coronavirus patients.
He led Ash Wednesday prayers at the St Peter's Square at the Vatican despite the risk of being infected.
The Pope made contact with numerous worshippers during his duties and later cancelled another appearance due to being 'slightly indisposed'.
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