Vatican: COVID-19 case in the hotel where the pope resides

A person who lives in the same residence in the Vatican that Pope Francis has tested positive for the coronavirus, a case that joins that of 11 Swiss Guards in charge of protecting the pontiff.

The Vatican said Saturday that Domus Sanctae resident Marthae is in isolation, as is everyone who had direct contact with him.

The hotel serves as a residence for priests serving in the Vatican as well as visiting clergy and laymen. Francis, elected in 2013, chose to live there instead of the Apostolic Palace because he said he wanted to be surrounded by ordinary people. The hotel has a dining room and a chapel where Francis celebrates mass every morning.

The Vatican has stepped up its measures against COVID-19 as the outbreak resurfaces in Italy. The use of the mask is required inside and outside, but Francisco generally does not use it, even in public hearings.

At 83, and with part of a lung removed in his early 20s, he would be a high-risk case of contracting the virus.

Last week the Vatican confirmed an outbreak of 11 cases in the Swiss Guard, the small army of Swiss youth who dress as ceremonial guards at papal masses, guard gates and protect the pope.

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