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Infection at the Casa Santa Marta:
Person with COVID-19 in Francis’ Residence

[UPDATE 26-MAR-20 03:00 UTC: Infected individual identified as “Mgr.” Gianluca Pezzoli]

On Mar. 16, we reported that Francis had met with French Novus Ordo bishops at the Vatican, one of whom later tested positive for the presence of COVID-19, the dreaded Coronavirus. Upon their return to France, he and all the other prelates who had accompanied him went into quarantine. Thus we concluded: “The question is whether Francis himself will now be quarantined, and if not, why not.” He has not been quarantined since; or if he has been, it wasn’t reported.

Today the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reports that one of Francis’ collaborators, who lives at the Casa Santa Marta, the same building in which Francis resides, has tested positive for the virus.

Philip Pullella, Reuters’ staff Vaticanist, has published a brief report in English:

The article by Il Messaggero notes that the COVID-positive man in the Casa Santa Marta, who was hospitalized immediately, is a monsignor working in the Secretariat of State. Now the Vatican is getting very close to complete lockdown. The Vatican has not yet issued a comment on the matter, according to Pullella.

This latest case of COVID-19 is in addition to the four cases already known to exist in Vatican City. It is the first case to enter Francis’ own home residence of the Casa Santa Marta (aka Domus Sanctae Marthae), the guest house originally built in 1996 by John Paul II to provide lodging for Novus Ordo cardinals attending a conclave. Shortly after his election, Francis announced he would dwell there instead of the Apostolic Palace because, so he said, “I cannot live alone. I must live my life with others” (source).

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