Fears as Pope Francis misses planned mass due to illness after touching hundreds of people yesterday despite warning of coronavirus

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Pope Francis has missed a planned Mass with Rome clergy due to illness.

The Vatican said the 83-year-old pontiff had a 'slight indisposition' and would proceed with the rest of his planned work on Thursday but Francis 'preferred to stay near Santa Marta', the Vatican hotel where he lives.

There was no word from the Vatican about the nature of his illness, but the pope was seen coughing and blowing his nose during the Ash Wednesday Mass.

He was also pictured touching people's hands and kissing their heads as he walked among crowds in St Peter's Square.


It comes amid an outbreak of the strain of coronavirus – also known as Covid-19 – in Italy that has infected more than 400 people, almost all of them in the north.




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